UN tells Israel to halt attacks targeting civilians in Gaza

A mourner kisses the forehead of Saddam Abu Muamer, who was killed in an overnight Israeli airstrike on a house in Gaza’s Khan Younis, 14 July. Saddam’s wife Hanadi and father Mousa were also killed.

Ramadan El-Agha APA images

UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestine refugees, has called on Israel “to end attacks against civilians and civilian infrastructure which are contrary to international law.”

This is rare recognition by a UN agency that Israel is indeed deliberately targeting civilians.

The call came in a series of tweets drawing attention to the dire situation as the toll from Israel’s relentless bombardment of Gaza, which began one week ago, reached 174 persons killed, eighty percent of them civilians.

More than thirty children are among the dead. Health facilities in Gaza are struggling to care for more than 1,100 people injured in the round-the-clock bombardments.

Earlier today, James Rawley, UN humanitarian coordinator for the occupied Palestinian territories, witnessed the devastation.

“Today we have had a small glimpse of the damage incurred so far and the wide-range of humanitarian impacts that are emerging,” Rawley said at a press conference in Gaza City.

“These include damage to 66 schools, and the destruction of over 940 homes, as well as damage to health, education, water and sanitation facilities, and electricity infrastructure that make it increasingly difficult to provide even the most basic services,” Rawley added.

Homes of thousands destroyed

More than 5,600 Palestinians have been made homeless by the direct destruction of homes, the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reported.

Palestinian children look at the remains of a house destroyed in an Israeli airstrike in Gaza City, 14 July. Mohammed Talatene APA images

Rawley said that 16,000 other Palestinians have already fled their homes, many taking refuge at shelters opened by the UN.

In an emergency update on its website today, UNRWA warns that “the impact of the ongoing conflict on civilians has today taken a significant turn. Thousands of people have been internally displaced as they escape airstrikes affecting their homes and neighborhoods or respond to leaflets distributed by Israel telling them to leave their homes.”

UNRWA says that 2,000 people had already taken shelter at schools it runs and “this number was rising by the minute.”

Schools hit

UNRWA notes that 49 of its installations have been damaged since 1 June.

But the pace of Israeli attacks is not abating.

“In the past 24 hours, nine UNRWA installations were damaged. All of these were schools, in Gaza, Middle, North and Rafah Areas,” the agency stated.




As Naseer H. Aruri has brilliantly documented throughout his book
THE DISHONEST BROKER: THE US ROLE.... Israel has never responded to
conditions, calls, resolutions etc. from the United Nations nor has it
followed any other international agreements. Aruri considers this to have
been one of the main "achievements" (from Israel's point of view) of the US
being its dishonest "broker". The US has so far protected Israel from all
action by the UN. Like many colonial "adventures", the invader sees
itself as divinely inspired (a just war) or impelled by its superior mission.
Its end justifies all means. In the instant case, only Zionism judges itself. No
other group or body can judge it. Remember that Israel's very membership
in the UN was conditional upon its adhering to every UN resolution etc.
It has paid no attention to even the weaker admonishments. It has now
been 10 years since the wall was declared illegal the Bureau on Inalienable Palestinian Rights reminds us. Nothing has happened. The Security Council has never acted... Settlements have increased. These are a few examples of many.

Peter Loeb, Boston, MA, USA

Ali Abunimah

Ali Abunimah's picture

Co-founder of The Electronic Intifada and author of The Battle for Justice in Palestine, now out from Haymarket Books.

Also wrote One Country: A Bold-Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse. Opinions are mine alone.