Israel’s lies over the ‘flour massacre’ unravel

Saturday 02 March 2024

The Israeli state murdered Palestinians waiting for food aid in Gaza

Mark Regev illustrating an article about the flour massacre

Israeli propagandist Mark Regev tried to blame the ‘flour massacre’ on the Palestinian resistance (Picture: Foreign and Commonwealth Office)

The “flour massacre” in Gaza is a textbook case of Israeli state terror and cover-up. But, just like after its other massacres of Palestinians, Israel’s lies are quickly unravelling. 

The Palestinian death-toll had reached at least 155 on Saturday morning—and bodies were still being recovered. Israeli forces wounded over 700 in the massacre after they opened fire on Palestinians waiting for food aid at the Nabulsi roundabout in northern Gaza on Thursday.

The terror state has changed its story and tried to whitewash its crimes, backed up by the US, Britain and the mainstream media. 

Early Thursday morning, hundreds of desperately-hungry Palestinians gathered on Harun al-Rashid Street in Gaza. They had received word that aid trucks carrying flour had been allowed to enter the area. 

The Israeli state has rarely allowed aid deliveries to pass into that part of northern Gaza for the past month. As they tried to take the flour off the trucks, Israeli forces began to fire on the Palestinians, turning the street into a bloodbath. 

Witnesses who survived the massacre have said that Israeli forces shot at them with guns and tanks—and ran over Palestinians with tanks. Speaking to Al Jazeera news, a witness who survived the massacre said, “We had come here to get our hands on some aid. I had been waiting since noon yesterday.  

“At about 4.30am, trucks started to trickle in. The Israelis just opened random fire on us as if it was a trap. Once we approached the aid trucks, the Israeli tanks and warplanes started firing on us.” 

Another witness, Mahmoud Ibrahim Abdel Salam Obaid, said, “Due to extreme hunger, I went for the first time to get aid. I did not see anyone approaching the tank, which was stationed near Al-Rashid Street. 

“I took aid from the first truck, and when I turned around, I was hit by two bullets from the tank, one in my back and another in my hand.” 

Another witness, Atiya Abdel Fattah, added, “The first and second trucks entered, and people approached them and started taking aid. Then, when the third and fourth trucks entered, the occupying forces started shooting. 

“I was able to take a share of the aid and decided to return to my house. I was then hit with a bullet in my back while I was around 700 meters away from where the Israeli tanks were stationed.”

A crowd shot the pro Palestine demo outside the Israeli embassy, people wave the Palestinian flag

Initially, the Israeli state blamed Palestinians for their own deaths by saying most were killed in a deadly stampede. “Early this morning, during the entry of humanitarian aid trucks into the northern Gaza Strip, Gaza residents surrounded the trucks and looted the supplies being delivered,” said Israeli forces. 

“During the incident, dozens of Gazans were injured as a result of pushing and trampling.”

This was quickly proven to be a lie.  Dr. Mohammed Salha is the acting director of Al-Awda Hospital, where most of the casualties were taken following the massacre. He said that most of those treated had gunshot wounds. 

He told The Associated Press that, of the 176 wounded people taken to the hospital, 142 had gunshot wounds and 34 had injuries that were likely caused by a crowd crush. 

Husam Abu Safyia, director of Kamal Adwan Hospital, said that the majority had gunshot wounds in their heads, necks or chests. 

As videos of the massacre began to flood social media, Israeli forces were forced to admit that they did fire, but claimed they only did this to maintain order. 

Israeli forces spokesperson Peter Lerner said on Channel 4 News that a “mob stormed the convoy bringing it at some stage to a halt”. “The tanks that were there to secure the convoy saw the Gazans being trampled and cautiously tried to disperse the mob with a few warning shots,” he said. 

After being forced to admit that shots were fired, prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s special adviser Mark Regev suggested Israeli forces weren’t involved in the massacre at all.  “In the incident of the truck being swarmed, there was gunfire, that was Palestinian armed groups,” he said. 

“We don’t know if it was Hamas or others.” He added that Israel was not directly involved and was not on the ground during the attack. 

The US also wants to deny the brutality of the massacre. On Thursday its representatives blocked a United National (UN) Security Council statement that expressed “deep concern” over the massacre. 

Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian UN ambassador, said that only the US opposed the motion on the security council. US deputy UN envoy Robert Wood said they voted against the statement because “we don’t have all the facts on the ground—that’s the problem”. 

Thursday’s veto was the fifth time since 7 October that the US has blocked resolutions that condemn Israel or call for a ceasefire in Gaza. 

The UN Human Rights Office for the Occupied Palestinian Territory said it had “recorded at least 14 incidents involving shooting and shelling of people gathered to receive desperately needed supplies”. These took place between mid-January and the end of February at the Kuwait Roundabout on Salah al-Din Street and Al Nabulsi Roundabout.

“A majority of these incidents” resulted in casualties, the UN said. “Israel’s choices of methods and means of warfare have caused a humanitarian catastrophe.” 

Once again, the Israeli state massacred Palestinians. And once again, its imperialist backers want to help them cover it up.