CONDEMNATION and outrage continues to grow over the killing of seven aid workers working for food charity World Central Kitchen (WCK) in an Israeli attack in Gaza – even though the aid workers were travelling in clearly marked vehicles and their convoy's movements had been coordinated in advance with Israeli military authorities.

Despite this the three vehicles in the convoy were individually attacked from the air, being hit by projectiles thought to have been launched from drones hovering overhead. Should this be the case, the Israeli explanation that the incident was an unfortunate accident becomes untenable. Drones can hover over potential targets for a considerable period of time, allowing more than enough time to ensure that the potential target does indeed pose a significant military threat.

A preliminary investigation by the TV news channel Al Jazeera's Sanad Verification Agency has concluded that the attack was in fact deliberate. Sanad used open-source information, witness testimonies, images from the site, and constructed a chronological and geographical timeline of the events. This timeline makes it very difficult to believe that the incident was really an unfortunate accident.

Local witnesses told the channel that following a projectile strike on the first vehicle, the injured were transferred to another armoured vehicle to expedite their transport. The second vehicle was targeted approximately 800 metres (2525 feet) away from where the first was hit, while the third car was targeted about 1.6km away from the second car, based on its location after being bombed.

All the vehicles were clearly marked on their roofs and windshields as belonging to WCK and the movements of all three had been agreed in advance with the Israeli military – and they were travelling in an area deemed by the Israeli military to have already been cleared of Hamas activity, a so called “de-conflicted zone”.

This incident has attracted considerable international attention because the aid workers who died came from Western countries which are supporting Israel's attack on the now ruined Palestinian territory.

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However, 196 aid workers have been killed in Gaza since the Israeli assault on Gaza began. Their deaths have not provoked the same international outrage.

Are we supposed to believe that all these deaths were unfortunate accidents?

Even if we take the Israeli military's explanations at face value, that's an awful lot of accidents.

The deaths of the WCK workers prove that these “regrettable accidents” keep on happening, so the Israeli forces are very clearly not doing anything to prevent it from happening again and again. That in itself is a gross dereliction and a breach of international humanitarian law. And that remains the case even if, and it's a very big if, we accept the Israeli explanation.

But you would have to be wilfully blind and ignorant not to realise that the Israeli military has absolutely no interest in protecting innocent civilian life.

The National: Seven aid workers were killed in an Israeli air strike while delivering food to besieged Palestinians in the Gaza Strip with the charity World Central Kitchen (Abdel Kareem Hana/AP)

More than 32,000 people have died since the Israeli attack on Gaza began, the majority of whom are non-combatants. Large tracts of Gaza have been reduced to rubble, half or more domestic residences have been destroyed or severely damaged.

The Gazan health, water, food distribution, sewage, and educational systems have been rendered inoperable, a large majority of the population has had to flee, often multiple times, and are now eking out a miserable existence in hastily constructed insanitary tent encampments where disease is rife and the people exist on the brink of starvation.

Israel's actions go way beyond legitimate self-defence. This is very obviously the mass punishment of the people of Gaza for the war crimes committed by Hamas on October 7, 2023. That is against international law.

It is difficult to escape the conclusion that Israel is now engaged in a campaign to render Gaza uninhabitable, and to force most of its population out of the territory, leaving behind a much reduced population in a Gaza that has to be rebuilt from scratch, a situation in which it would be much easier for Israel to exert control.

This meets the legal definition of genocide.

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Now, the British government and the Conservative and Labour parties are coming under scrutiny for their refusal to consider suspending British arms exports to Israel. If British armaments are used by Israel to commit war crimes, then the UK would be complicit in war crimes, itself a breach of international law.

SNP Westminster leader Stephen Flynn has called for an immediate recall of parliament to deal with this. The Commons, like the Scottish Parliament, is currently on its Easter recess.

And it's not just the SNP and pro-Palestinian organisations which are calling for an immediate halt to British arms sales to Israel. Lord Peter Ricketts, a former senior diplomat who chaired the Joint Intelligence Committee when Tony Blair was in power, has joined in calls for an immediate halt to arms sales to Israel.

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He told BBC Radio 4: “I think there is abundant evidence now that Israel hasn't been taking enough care to fulfill its obligations on the safety of civilians, and a country that gets arms from the UK has to comply with international humanitarian law, that is a condition of the arms export licensing policy I think the time has come to send that signal."

He added: "It won't change the course of the war. It would be a powerful political message, and it might just stimulate debate in the US as well, which would be the real game-changer, if the Americans began to think about putting limits, restrictions on the use of American weapons in Israel."

This piece is an extract from today’s REAL Scottish Politics newsletter, which is emailed out at 7pm every weekday with a round-up of the day's top stories and exclusive analysis from the Wee Ginger Dug.

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