Image Credit: AFP

“The Flour Massacre”: Israeli soldiers open fire on civilians in Gaza gathering around aid trucks

Israeli soldiers committed a new massacre in the Gaza strip early Thursday morning, after they opened fire on civilians gathering around aid trucks in the southwest of Gaza city, killing more than 100 and wounding over 700 in the process according to the Gaza Ministry of Health.

Reports from within Gaza state that civilians had slept in the streets earlier that night awaiting the arrival of the aid trucks early in the morning, as starvation continued to set in after Israel enacted a total siege on Gaza and prevented the delivery of any aid.

When the trucks arrived, people congregated on al-Rashid Street to receive bags of flour before Israeli forces opened fire on them. The massacre has since then been known as “The Flour Massacre.”

Ceasefire Talks

The massacre has reportedly added urgency to the ceasefire talks, but US Presdient Joe Biden has said that the massacre would also complicate talks.

Earlier this past week, Biden himself had said that he was hopeful a ceasefire would take place by next Monday. In response, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected the suggestions, claiming he doesn’t know “how President Biden came up with this conclusion.”

At the start of Israel’s aggressions on Gaza, President Biden personally took a trip to occupied Yafa, known as Tel Aviv, to express the United States’ support for Israel following the October 7 attacks by Hamas.

The two’s relationship has since been strained as Israel continues to violate international law in favour of resuming its onslaught on Gaza. Despite this, President Biden has publicly retained support for the country and refused to call for a permanent ceasefire despite countless protests and campaigns by local activists.

The humanitarian crisis in Gaza has continued to escalate with more than 30,000 killed, and hundreds of thousands continuing to starve. The strip is now on the brink of famine after relentless Israeli ground and air campaigns.

Israeli authorities have escalated attacks on the Rafah crossing and Lebanese territories, and ceasefire talks have notably increased by multiple international actors.

On Wednesday, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi suggested that “hopefully” a ceasefire will take place in the upcoming days, without specifying a particular date. This was prior to the massacre that took place on Thursday.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected Biden’s suggestions, claiming he doesn’t know “how President Biden came up with this conclusion”. 

Netanyahu referred to a paper introduced by the US in Paris, claiming that it was closest to the Israeli position and did not display any “real will” to achieve a ceasefire.

Not a Temporary Ceasefire

Organizers around the world rejected suggestions by the US to have a temporary ceasefire, emphasizing that the situation needs a permanent ceasefire.

Notably, during the last temporary ceasefire that occured between 24 and 30 November 2023, Israeli forces continued to commit violations. During the ceasefire period alone, Israeli authorities captured more Palestinians than they released.

Whether it’s a temporary or permanent ceasefire, Israeli forces have repeatedly intensified bombing campaigns and attacks in the period immediately before the agreement windows, including November’s ceasefire or the Israeli-Lebanese 2006 war.

A Continued Genocide

Towards the end of January, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) issued a number of measures for Israeli authorities to follow after finding a plausible case for genocide. The ICJ followed up these measures with more “urgent” ones in February, after Israeli forces continued to violate the ICJ rulings.

Needless to say, as was already expressed by Israeli military and political spokespersons, no intention has been shown by Israeli authorities to respect neither the ICJ rulings nor the rising international calls for de-escalation.

As matters stand, the number of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces has surpassed 30,365 in Gaza, including at least 12,300 children and 8,400 women.