Unstoppable Israel

Israel has lost the moral high ground and dragged down Joe Biden and the US to its same level of iniquity

A view of damaged vehicle carrying World Central Kitchen workers in Deir al-Balah, Gaza on 2 April
A view of damaged vehicle carrying World Central Kitchen workers in Deir al-Balah, Gaza on 2 April

Israeli Army Radio has reported that Israel’s ‘Nahal Brigade (162nd Division)’ was responsible for directing the air attack on the World Central Kitchen (WCK) aid workers that killed seven of them a week or so ago.

According to the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) and the Critical Threats Project (CTP), two US-based defence think tanks, unnamed senior Israeli military officials had warned in advance of the attack on the WCK staff that coordination between international humanitarian aid groups and Israeli forces in Gaza ‘was not functioning properly’.

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has slammed Israel’s explanation for the killing of seven aid workers in Gaza as “not good enough”, as outrage over the attack continues to reverberate globally.

“We need to have accountability for how it has occurred, and what is not good enough is the statements that have been made, including that this is just a product of war,” Albanese said during a news conference in Sydney. An Australian woman - Zomi Frankcom - was among those who were killed when a convoy was hit in an Israeli air strike. The CEO of WCK alleged in an interview that the Israeli military had targeted his employees systematically, ‘car by car’.

The Cypriot Foreign Minister, Constantinos Kombos, who worked closely with slain aid workers, called for accountability.

Journalists asked US State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller to explain if previous Israeli investigations into the killings of Americans have led to accountability, in light of this latest incident. Miller said that Israel had cooperated with the investigation conducted by the US security coordinator and that had concluded that gunfire from Israeli army positions was ‘likely responsible’ for the tragic death of a US citizen.

More irresponsible and illegal killings and another Israeli excuse.

This is not a one-of incident.

The deaths of World Central Kitchen workers pushed the number of aid employees killed during the war in Gaza to at least 196, according to the UN secretary general, António Guterres.

It has been happening ever since Israel has been trying to wipe out Hamas in a reaction to the illegal and surprise incursion that Hamas carried out on Israeli soil last October.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) has released a detailed investigation into an Israeli air strike that killed 106 Palestinians in a six-storey apartment building on 31 October, 2023, describing the attack as an ‘apparent war crime’.

Witnesses said 350 or more people were staying in the Engineers’ Building, just south of the Nuseirat refugee camp, when four aerial munitions struck the building within about 10 seconds, without warning, at about 2:30pm local time. The building was completely demolished.

According to those who survived this strike, the 106 Palestinians, including 54 children, killed in the attack were playing football, charging their phones in the downstairs grocery store, or simply seeking shelter after fleeing their own homes.

The US President, Joe Biden, at least in public, has been expressing his responses to Israeli actions in Gaza by ever more indignant declarations. He said he was ‘outraged and heartbroken’ about the killing of seven World Central Kitchen aid workers in Gaza.

Is Mr Biden’s anger leading to a breaking point with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, with whom relations have been recently quite tense? In public, at least, Mr Biden has limited his responses to ever more indignant declarations.

Launching a bombing campaign on the southern city of Rafah would cross a ‘red line’, Mr Biden has insisted, without mentioning what the consequences would be.

Senator Chris Van Hollen, Democrat of Maryland and one of Mr Biden’s most enthusiastic supporters, has been pressing for months to place conditions on the arms the United States supplies to Israel. He said: ‘Netanyahu ignored the president’s requests, and yet we send 2,000-pound bombs with no restrictions on their use.’

There have been other moments in the six months since the 7 October terrorist attacks when the United States has hit a wall in dealing with Mr Netanyahu, and where declarations of common goals could not hide the fact that the two countries are deeply at odds about how to conduct the war.

But Mr Biden consistently stops short of openly breaking with Mr Netanyahu, a confrontation that - according to observers - he believes will only make the Israeli prime minister more difficult to handle. Biden’s ‘red line’ on Gaza does not really exist.

Sadly, it is Netanyahu who calls the shots and Mr Biden’s bark is not backed by the necessary bite.

Meanwhile more innocent people, including an extraordinary large number of mothers and their innocent children are being systematically killed - or starved to death - by the Israelis.

Israel has lost the moral high ground and dragged down Joe Biden and the US to its same level of iniquity.

‘Mostly rubbish’

‘Why art biennales are (mostly) rubbish is a piece written by Digby Warde-Aldan and published recently in The Spectator.

In spite of the generic aspect of the title, after claiming that ‘over the past decade, the average biennale has come to see itself as an agent for social change’, the piece centres mostly on Malta’s biennale.

He puts it this way: ‘Across the public squares of its capital, Valletta, performance artists are blocking busy thoroughfares and causing havoc on packed café terraces. The Hospitaller and British military forts that dominate the capital’s famous harbour meanwhile are full of dysfunctional work, while the curio-filled vitrines of local museums are forced to compete with video art.’

According to Warde-Aldan: ‘Over the past decade and a bit, the average biennale has come to see itself as an agent for social change.’

He then adds that, ‘In Malta this was very much the case. While I heard much about the country’s surprisingly strong record on LGBT rights, I don’t remember seeing anything that directly addressed the Caruana Galizia affair. Nor were there many works that alluded to the country’s medieval record on abortion. It’s perhaps not uncoincidental that one of these - the excellent German artist Bettina Hutschek’s wunderkammer of objects investigating the relationship between biblical and folk misogyny and the development of the Maltese language - was among the programme’s few genuine stand-outs’

Whether we like it or not, that’s how others see Malta’s biennale efforts.