UN chief to Israel: 196 aid workers have been killed, why?
UN chief to Israel: 196 aid workers have been killed, why?
UN chief to Israel: 196 aid workers have been killed, why?
by DZRH News07 April 2024
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres speaks during a press conference, in Amman, Jordan March 25, 2024. REUTERS/Alaa Al-Sukhni/ File photo

By Michelle Nichols

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) -U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Friday called for independent investigations into the deaths of all 196 aid workers killed in the Gaza Strip during the Israel-Hamas war and said he hopes Israel quickly and effectively boosts aid access.

Global outrage at the humanitarian crisis in the occupied Palestinian territory of 2.3 million people escalated after three Israeli airstrikes on Monday killed seven people working for U.S.-based food charity World Central Kitchen.

Israel is retaliating against Hamas in Gaza over a deadly Oct. 7 attack on Israel by the Palestinian militant group, saying they killed some 1,200 people and took more than 250 people hostage. Gaza health authorities say Israel has killed more than 33,000 people since.


The Israeli military on Friday said its inquiry into the strikes on the aid convoy found serious errors and breaches of procedure.

"The Israeli government has acknowledged mistakes," Guterres said. "But the essential problem is not who made the mistakes, it is the military strategy and procedures in place that allow for those mistakes to multiply time and time again."

"Fixing those failures requires independent investigations and meaningful and measurable changes on the ground," he said, without specifying who should conduct the investigations. "196 humanitarian workers have been killed and we want to know why each one of them was killed."

The 15-member U.N. Security Council met on Friday to discuss an imminent famine in Gaza and the attacks on aid workers.


"Were we meeting in the north of Gaza, all 15 of us would be skipping meals," said Slovenia's U.N. Ambassador Samuel Zbogar. "10 of us would go entire days and nights without eating. Half of us would be in desperate need of humanitarian aid."

Addressing the council, senior U.N. aid official Ramesh Rajasingham called on all countries to help stop violations of humanitarian law – "through diplomatic and economic pressure, conditioning arms exports on compliance with the rules of war, and cooperation in combating impunity."


Britain's U.N. Ambassador Barbara Woodward said aid workers should never be targeted, adding: "Israel must do much more to protect them and to ensure their safety so they can deliver urgently needed lifesaving humanitarian assistance."


Israel has approved reopening the Erez crossing into northern Gaza and temporary use of Ashdod port in southern Israel after U.S. President Joe Biden demanded steps to alleviate the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, saying conditions could be placed on U.S. support for Israel if it did not act.

"When the gates to aid are closed, the doors to starvation are opened. More than half the population – over a million people – are facing catastrophic hunger. Children in Gaza today are dying for lack of food and water," Guterres told reporters.

"This is incomprehensible, and entirely avoidable," he said.

Guterres also said he was "deeply troubled" by reports that the Israeli military has been using artificial intelligence to help identify bombing targets in Gaza. The Israeli military denies AI was used to identify suspected extremists and targets.


"No part of life and death decisions which impact entire families should be delegated to the cold calculation of algorithms," Guterres said.

"Over the last six months, the Israeli military campaign has brought relentless death and destruction to Palestinians in Gaza," Guterres added. "Lives are shattered. Respect for international humanitarian law is in tatters."

(Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by Ismail Shakil, Chizu Nomiyama and Josie Kao)

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