a former French military leader denounces “a tragedy” “completely incomprehensible”

While an Israeli strike hit a humanitarian convoy on Tuesday in Gaza, General Dominque Trinquand clarified, on franceinfo, the intervention process of NGOs on the battlefields.


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Rescue workers respond to the site of Israeli strikes which hit an annex building of the Iranian embassy in Damascus, Syria, on April 1, 2024 (LOUAI BESHARA / AFP)

Seven NGO staff, including six internationals, were killed on Tuesday April 2 in an Israeli army strike in Gaza. The Israeli army has launched an investigation. Reactions come from all over the world. But for General Dominique Trinquand, former head of the French military mission to the UN in New York, guest on franceinfo,“we cannot speak of a war crime, for the moment.”

Franceinfo: Is what happened in Gaza a war crime?

Dominique Trinquand: It doesn’t qualify as a war crime at this point. The Israeli state apologizes and launches an investigation. It’s a tragedy, of course. This is called collateral damage. But the investigation will make it possible to verify what happened because the coordination between this NGO and the Israeli army worked well. Everything was perfectly identified. So it is very difficult to understand why the Israeli army made such an error.

How do humanitarians and relief workers who intervene on the ground communicate with the armies?

They coordinate with the headquarters, giving the position where they are, the routes and the times at which they pass. And normally, from that point on, there is no mistake that can be made. So, I find it very difficult to explain how such an error could have been made on an organization that has been working for a long time, with very proven logistics and coordination with the Israeli army. This is completely incomprehensible. It will be necessary to know if this strike came from a drone, from a plane, if the drone was piloted directly by sight or if it was an automated shot. This is the only explanation I can give for this strike.

What is the process like for the military before launching strikes? Are there any checks?

When a strike is identified or possible, at that point you have a whole checklist that is followed. Before obtaining the firing authorization, it is checked on the checklist if there are no elements which have already been provided to the army indicating that there has been an operation in progress. an NGO for example. Secondly, visually, if the vehicle can be identified and there I understand that the vehicles also had the logo of the NGO on the roof. So all these elements are normally checked before the firing order is given.

Israel speaks of an “unintentional” strike in military language, what does that mean?

If it’s unintentional, that means there was something in the strike that went off, like a round that didn’t go where it was supposed to go. That is to say that a strike was planned, but it was not planned at that location and it was deflected by a phenomenon that I cannot explain there. But that’s what I understand by an unintentional strike.

“That means that the order was not given to shoot at this vehicle, but probably to shoot elsewhere and then there was an error in the targeting.”

Dominique Trinquand

at franceinfo

The Israeli army announces an investigation. Can we trust him?

I think yes. The subject is too serious. First of all, this is the first time that an international humanitarian organization has been hit in this way. Secondly, it is an American organization, so the Americans have ways of obtaining information as well. So I think Israel will come clean about what happened.

Is Israel losing the battle of images or has it already lost?

I believe the battle of images has been lost. Here, we are talking about an international NGO, so everyone in the world is upset. But let’s think about the thousands of deaths that were caused by the various strikes. And this caused this image battle to be lost, with Israel still not having succeeded in finding the Hamas leaders it has been looking for for several months. So I think this battle is lost today.

source site-24