Head of aid group struck by IDF calls Gaza campaign ‘a war against humanity itself’

Chef Jose Andres compares Netanyahu to Putin, says war no longer about defending Israel; demands deeper, independent inquiry into deadly strike on World Central Kitchen convoy

World Central Kitchen head Jose Andres speaks to ABC's This Week, April 7, 2024. (X video screenshot: used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)
World Central Kitchen head Jose Andres speaks to ABC's This Week, April 7, 2024. (X video screenshot: used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

World Central Kitchen founder Jose Andres raised questions on Sunday over the Israeli probe into a strike that killed seven of his staff in Gaza, and warned that the conflict had become “a war against humanity itself.”

Speaking about his firsthand experience working in war-torn Ukraine, where “entire towns” have been destroyed, the head of the US-based charity also compared Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“This investigation and many others should be done right, should be done in an independent way,” Andres said in an emotional interview with ABC’s “This Week.”

“This doesn’t seem like a war against terror. This doesn’t seem any more like a war about defending Israel,” he said. “It really, at this point, seems like a war against humanity itself.”

Andres is a celebrity chef in the United States, and the White House has called the killing of the aid workers from his charity a “catalyst” for sterner calls by US President Joe Biden for Israel to curtail the killing of civilians and aid workers, and improve the dire humanitarian situation in Gaza.

Andres called the new aid routes a “first step” and said he supports Israel’s right to defend itself, but questioned why the United States was supplying weapons to a country that is “killing American citizens who are humanitarians.”

The IDF has insisted that its killing on Monday of the World Central Kitchen workers in Gaza was a “tragic mistake.” The military dismissed the two officers responsible and formally reprimanded senior commanders after the inquiry. But Netanyahu also said that “these things happen in war” — a line that was not well received internationally.

Three Britons, a US-Canadian dual national, a Pole, an Australian and a Palestinian were killed when the WCK convoy, whose route was cleared with the IDF, was repeatedly struck.

WCK identified the victims as Saifeddin Issam Ayad Abutaha, 25, from Gaza; Lalzawmi (Zomi) Frankcom, 43, from Australia; Damian Soból, 35, from Poland; Jacob Flickinger, 33, from the US and Canada; John Chapman, 57, from the UK; James (Jim) Henderson, 33, from the UK; and James Kirby, 47, from the UK.

In its investigation, the Israeli military said an armed man climbed on the roof of one of the trucks and “started firing his weapon,” leading to suspicions that the “convoy had been hijacked by Hamas.”

When asked about the Israeli report’s findings, Andres questioned the narrative, and charged that Israel was targeting anything that “seems” to move, and has been doing so “for too long.”

“I want to thank, obviously, the IDF, for doing such a quick investigation,” Andres said, adding that it didn’t go deep enough.

“We need more information. We need to see better quality videos,” he said. “What were the conversations, the radio conversations, between the different officers and soldiers in charge?”

“The perpetrator cannot be investigating himself,” he added.

Calling the killings “unforgivable,” Andres also compared the destruction in Gaza to that in Ukraine.

“I’ve seen firsthand what has been happening in Ukraine, entire towns and cities being wiped out by Russia and by Putin. What Prime Minister Netanyahu is doing is exactly the same,” he said.

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