Point-blank: Did they know?

Mohamed Salmawy
Tuesday 16 Apr 2024

Israel’s murder of the seven humanitarian aid workers of the World Central Kitchen (WCK) in Gaza stirred worldwide condemnation, but recent reactions in the UK raise questions.


WCK, founded by the famous Spanish chef José Andrés in 2010, offers free pre-made meals to the needy in disaster struck areas. According to its figures, it had distributed around 34 million of these meals in Gaza before suspending operations in the aftermath of the tragedy on 1 April which was clearly deliberate. Chef Andrés explained how the team had notified Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) authorities beforehand of the departure time and route of the WCK vehicles, the roofs of which were clearly marked with the humanitarian agency’s logo. This did not prevent three missiles from targeting the vehicles, killing three British nationals, an Australian, a Canadian-American, a Pole and a Palestinian.

Israel has murdered 196 humanitarian relief workers since Israel launched its war on Gaza. But that elicited nothing compared to the outcry caused by the recent incident. British Foreign Minister David Cameron expressed his extreme anger at the death of the three British citizens and the Israeli ambassador was summoned to the Foreign Office for a dressing down. Also, for the first time since 7 October the British press spoke of “Israeli crimes.” What accounts for this anomaly?  

The three British nationals who Israel killed were all ex-military men. James Kirby (47), a professional sniper and missile expert, had worked for years in the British army, John Chapman (57), was a long-serving member of the Royal Marines, and James Henderson (33), had also served in the Marines for six years. The three had something else in common. They worked for Solace Global, a private security, cyber security, and intelligence firm closely linked to British intelligence. This is the heart of the matter. British intelligence routinely inserts its agents in the ranks of humanitarian relief organisations.  Could the IOF have possibly been unaware of the presence of British intelligence in the clearly marked aid vehicles?  Or did it know they existed, but were merely carrying out orders to attack all relief operations and personnel as part of Israel’s policy of mass starvation of the Palestinians?

* A version of this article appears in print in the 18 April, 2024 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly

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