After deadly incident in Gaza: calls for investigation

As of: March 1, 2024 3:06 a.m

After the deadly incident involving an aid convoy in northern Gaza, there are international calls for an independent investigation. There is criticism of Israel, particularly from France, following reports of shots fired at civilians seeking help.

Following the deaths of many people seeking humanitarian assistance in the Gaza Strip, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has said the incident requires an independent investigation.

Speaking in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Guterres said he was shocked by the latest episode in the war. “I firmly believe that we need a humanitarian ceasefire and the unconditional and immediate release of the hostages, and that we should have a Security Council capable of achieving these goals,” Guterres said.

According to information from the Palestinian health authority that has not yet been independently confirmed, more than 100 Palestinians were shot dead by Israeli forces as they waited for an aid delivery in the incident in the northern Gaza Strip.

Paris criticizes Israel: shootings at civilians cannot be justified

France also reacted deeply to the reports from northern Gaza and criticized Israel’s armed forces. “The Israeli military’s shelling of civilians trying to obtain food is unjustifiable,” the French Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

President Emmanuel Macron wrote on The situation in Gaza is dramatic. “The entire civilian population must be protected. A ceasefire must come into force immediately so that humanitarian aid can be distributed.”

Israel: No soldier deliberately attacked people

The statement from the Foreign Ministry in Paris also said that France expects the serious incident to be fully clarified. “In any case, it is Israel’s responsibility to abide by the rules of international law and protect the distribution of humanitarian aid to the civilian population.”

During the night there were still different accounts of what happened and so far no independent confirmation of what really happened. Hamas and several Arab states accused Israel’s military of deliberately opening fire on the waiting crowd. An Israeli army spokesman, however, said that no soldier had deliberately attacked people. Rather, when the trucks arrived there was a chaotic crowd, which the soldiers on site tried to break up with warning shots.

Conflict parties as a source

In the current situation, information on the course of the war, shelling and casualties provided by the Palestinian and Israeli conflict parties cannot be directly verified by an independent body.

US pushes for information after shootings at Palestinians

The reports of the many deaths also caused horror in the USA – one of Israel’s closest partners. “We have been in contact with the Israeli government since this morning and are aware that an investigation is underway. We will monitor this investigation closely and press for answers,” a US State Department spokesman said in the evening.

The incident underscores the urgency of expanding the flow of humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip. This includes a possible temporary ceasefire as part of a hostage agreement.

A “tragic and alarming incident”

According to the White House, US President Joe Biden also spoke by phone with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani. In the phone calls, everyone involved regretted the loss of life among the civilian population, the White House said. It is a “tragic and alarming incident”. It was agreed that this incident underscored the urgency of concluding negotiations as soon as possible and expanding humanitarian assistance to the Gaza Strip.

Egypt described the killing of numerous Palestinians as a crime. “It is a heinous crime to attack peaceful civilians who are rushing to receive their share of humanitarian aid,” said a statement released by the Egyptian Foreign Ministry. “It is a blatant violation of international law and international humanitarian law and also shows disregard for the sanctity of human life.”

Ambassador: Targeted killing of Palestinians with shots in the head

Palestinian UN Ambassador Riad Mansour accused Israel of deliberately killing Palestinians. Thousands of people had gathered at the site in the north of the region, said Mansur in New York, where the UN Security Council met for an emergency meeting that night. “And then suddenly the Israeli army started shooting at them and according to the information we have, dozens of them have bullets in their heads. It’s not like shooting into the sky to hold people back when there was confusion and chaos. It was deliberately targeted and killed.” The information cannot yet be independently verified.

Israeli media, citing army sources, reported that part of the crowd approached Israeli soldiers for an unspecified reason and endangered them. The military initially fired warning shots into the air and fired at the legs of those who approached the soldiers anyway. This information could not be independently verified either.

Germany announces further humanitarian aid

Given the desperate situation of the civilian population in the Gaza Strip, Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock called on Israel to “immediately allow safe and unhindered access for humanitarian aid.” The Israeli army must “ensure that the distribution of humanitarian aid can be successful following the collapse of public order in large parts of the Gaza Strip,” said Baerbock. The situation of the people in the Gaza Strip can hardly be described in words.

The minister announced that Germany wanted to increase its humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip by a further 20 million euros. If necessary, Germany would like to participate together with other countries, especially Jordan, in dropping humanitarian aid from the air.

Antje Passenheim, tagesschau, February 29, 2024 11:23 p.m

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