Why did World Central Kitchen return to Gaza? Chef José Andrés explains

With a heavy heart, Andrés explains why it's so important for WCK to continue to alleviate the widespread hunger in Gaza.
Chef José Andrés
Posted at 3:22 PM, Apr 30, 2024

World Central Kitchen, the nonprofit organization founded by Chef José Andrés, has officially restarted its operations in Gaza, nearly a month after an Israeli airstrike tragically claimed the lives of their seven aid workers.

The team partnered with a local Palestinian group to distribute food, aiming to alleviate the widespread hunger in the region that was created by the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas.

The team's decision to return and offer assistance following the loss of the aid workers left many wondering, "Why?" But in an op-ed in The Washington Post, Andrés simply said, “Our decision to resume feeding in Gaza is both the hardest and the simplest one we could make.”

Andrés then went on to explain that it was a tough call because his team paid the highest price to assist strangers, yet it was an easy decision because their organization, renowned for feeding millions across the world in times of need, knows that the demand for their help is constant and very much needed during this time.

“We cannot stand by while so many people are so desperate for the essentials of life. Food is a universal human right, and we will not cease until those basic human rights are respected,” Andrés wrote.

World Central Kitchen

Israel at War

World Central Kitchen will resume feeding operations in Gaza weeks after deadly Israeli strike

Taylor O'Bier
10:59 AM, Apr 28, 2024

This week, the team restarted its operations in Gaza, deploying 276 trucks to deliver approximately 8 million meals through Rafah, and dispatching trucks from Jordan to distribute food to northern Gaza. However, Andrés emphasized that those individuals helping are mostly Palestinian, and that throughout the organization’s journey, many locals are usually the ones helping them.

“We expect and insist that the Israel Defense Forces protect and respect the lives and work of our Palestinian team members, just like citizens from other nations,” Andrés wrote. “That sort of treatment has been rare since we have been in the region. For example, though every team member is vetted and cleared before every food delivery mission, our Palestinian team members have been stripped and humiliated by Israeli soldiers while engaged in work that has been coordinated with, and approved by, the IDF.”

Following the deaths of the seven aid workers in an airstrike during their convoy, the Israel Defense Forces acknowledged that the strike was “a grave mistake stemming from a serious failure due to mistaken identification, errors in decision-making, and an attack contrary to the Standard Operating Procedures.”

Andrés said that he hopes the Biden administration holds the Israeli government accountable for protecting humanitarian aid workers moving forward.