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As Another School and Shelter in Gaza is Bombed, a UN Spokesman Breaks Down in Tears in a Video Interview

Chris Gunness, a United Nations Relief and Works Agency spokesperson broke down in tears while wrapping a TV interview with Al Jazeera Arabic about a lethal attack on a UN school that was sheltering 3,300 Palestinians in Gaza.

He also called upon ”the international community to take deliberate international political action to put an immediate end to the continuing carnage” in a statement on the UNRWA website:

Last night, children were killed as they slept next to their parents on the floor of a classroom in a UN designated shelter in Gaza. Children killed in their sleep; this is an affront to all of us, a source of universal shame. Today the world stands disgraced. 

This is the sixth UN school and shelter to be attacked by Israeli forces. The UNRWA had given the exact coordinates of the school 17 times to the Israel army so they could avoid bombing the area.

At least 1,361 Palestinians have been killed and more than 6,780 injured since Israel launched a massive offensive against the 40-kilometer long coastal strip on July 8. Israel has bombed schools, a playground, hospitals, shelters and refugee camps. Three in four people killed in Gaza were civilians. On July 28, Israel attacked the only power plant in Gaza, plunging the congested strip of 1.8 million people into darkness.

The United Nations agency UNRWA was running 245 schools with 225,000 students in Gaza, before the offensive began. As Israel forces bombs residential neighborhoods, tens of thousands have been made homeless and are forced to take refuge in the schools, many of which have become makeshift shelters.  

In the UNRWA statement Gunness continued to explain that his team visited the site of the latest bombing and called on the international community to take political action:

We have visited the site and gathered evidence. We have analysed fragments, examined craters and other damage. Our initial assessment is that it was Israeli artillery that hit our school, in which 3,300 people had sought refuge. We believe there were at least three impacts. It is too early to give a confirmed official death toll. But we know that there were multiple civilian deaths and injuries including of women and children and the UNRWA guard who was trying to protect the site. These are people who were instructed to leave their homes by the Israeli army. 

The precise location of the Jabalia Elementary Girls School and the fact that it was housing thousands of internally displaced people was communicated to the Israeli army seventeen times, to ensure its protection; the last being at ten to nine last night, just hours before the fatal shelling.

I condemn in the strongest possible terms this serious violation of international law by Israeli forces. 

This is the sixth time that one of our schools has been struck. Our staff, the very people leading the humanitarian response are being killed.  Our shelters are overflowing. Tens of thousands may soon be stranded in the streets of Gaza, without food, water and shelter if attacks on these areas continue. 

We have moved beyond the realm of humanitarian action alone. We are in the realm of accountability. I call on the international community to take deliberate international political action to put an immediate end to the continuing carnage. 

The UNRWA was established in 1949 and provides assistance and protection to 5 million registered Palestine refugees in Gaza, the West Bank, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan.

Excessive restrictions from Israel in the Palestinian territories of Gaza and the West Bank is why most of the world and the United Nations considers this territory “occupied” by Israel. This is Israel's third military operation in Gaza in 6 years. 

Follow our in-depth coverage: #Gaza: Civilian Death Toll Mounts in Israeli Offensive

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  • madjakk

    I’m sorry…..did I miss the condemnation of HAMAS when their war materials were found in 3 separate UN schools?

    Your tears are as fake as your interest in “peace”….
    Its time for us to get the US out of the UN and the UN out of the US.

    • Mark Flanigan

      You are a complete moron. The UN actually DID condemn Hamas for that illegal act. At least the gentleman from UNRWA has some empathy toward his fellow human beings, unlike you. The US is one of the permanent five members of the UN, which has its HQ in NYC. Maybe YOU need to get out of the US?

      • Mark Flanigan

        If you are so intellectually lazy that you have to copy and paste your pathetic excuse for a response, there is no point engaging with you. The IDF must be total crap if they cannot distinguish between civilian and military targets. Or perhaps they just don’t care if they kill innocent civilians. Either way, the world is waking up to this last shameful vestige of Colonialism. Netanyahu is on the wrong side of history. Everyone knows it, including a partisan hack like you.

      • crocodile tears

        Empathy? LOLOLOL! I dare you to find a single moist droplet emerging from that horrible actor’s ducts. Do us all a favour – don’t ever become a theater ctritic.

        • Mark Flanigan

          Don’t flatter yourself.

    • I.P Enrile

      You are an idiot and an immoral if you think that justifies the killing of hundreds of innocent civilians, including children. Israeli Human Rights group, Beit Selem which tracks both Israel and Palestinian deaths, says dozens of children as young as 4 years old were killed with gunshot wounds to the HEAD AND CHEST. Not to mention the videos coming through showing snipers killing rescuers. Bombing ambulances and hospitals also has to be the most cowardly thing a military could do.

      • madjakk

        Blow me, coprophage.
        If Hamas “cared” anything about its civilian loses…..it would’nt use them as human shields, would’nt use hospitals as command centers or civilian housing as military staging areas to lauch attacks against Israeli civilians.
        Hamas started this fight and since they cant win militarily….they are resorting to caterwauling, pathetic useful idiot douchbags like you to carry their water for them.
        I hope Hamas gets ass raped by the IDF….they have it coming.

        • I.P Enrile

          If I occupied a people, placed a crippling trade and economic embargo on them, placed them under siege, humiliated them daily via military and police checkpoints, controlled their water and electricity, constructed apartheid “Jewish- only roads”, shot their children, bombed their schools, mosques and businsses, illegally seized their lands, destroyed their crops, demolished their homes, threw thousands of them in dungeons and treated them like sub- humans and they fired rockets at me – I would probably stop doing all of the above. Secondly, Israel has been mass murdering the Palestinians for over 60 years – long before any rockets were fired and long before Hamas was even in existence. So this is nothing but a fallacy designed to deflect the reality of the situation and mislead others. Finally, Israel’s indiscriminate use of heavy weaponry in civilian areas is a war crime, not self defense.

          When you launch an unbridled, indiscriminate attack from warships, fighter jets, tanks, artillery and helicopters on a CIVILIAN AREA – what do you expect to find there – breakdancing hobbits? When you attack civilian areas, you kill civilians. It’s not Advanced Chinese Mathematics. It’s an open air prison. So when Israel fires into these areas it is going to kill and maim people every time. Gaza is the most densely populated place on earth. Secondly, according to the Israeli Human Rights. Bombing ambulances and hospitals also has to be the most cowardly thing a military could do.

          You may be killing more people and you have no qualms wearing your barbarity like a badge of honor as shown by your idiotic and disgusting comment. But you are losing the war on public opinion. People are waking up to the truth. One day, you’re gonna be consigned to the same place that the Nazis occupy in history.

          • madjakk

            Awwwww…..boo hoo.

            Gee….I guess thats what you get when you freely vote a militant terrorist organization that is also holds a maniacal, genocidal, human dismemberment cult like mentality as its belief system to be your central government.

            BTW….Egypt hates Hamas too because of their close ties to the “muslim brotherhood”, and despite your bleeding heart caterwauling, explains why the Egyptian side of Gaza is closed off.
            Funny how you people tend to forget that.

            FAIL

      • Larry Quentin

        Hamas fighters hide among civilians and shoot rockets at Israel. If they are allowed to do this other terrorist groups will do same.

        How many Hamas rockets have fallen short and killed their own which of course they immediately blame on Israel?

        This has never been about living peacefully with Israel. Hamas stated goal is destruction of Israel.

        • I.P Enrile

          If you really think Hamas is Israel’s problem, think again. Hamas was only formed in the late eighties, 1987 to be precise. But the OCCUPATION started in 1948. This means 39 years of massacres, imprisonment and displacement. 39 years of pretext to kill Palestinians. If Hamas is destroyed, they will find another pretext, even create its own enemies to kill: As Snowden revealed in the leaked American National Security Agency document “The only solution for the protection of the Zionist State is to create an enemy near its borders.” Their problem is not Hamas, it’s the entire Palestinian population!

          How many rockets, missiles, tank shells, cluster bombs, white phosphorous bombs, bullets, cannons and grenades has Israel unleashed on the Palestinians? It’s a sad situation and only reflective of the evident bias when you can count to the 3rd decimal point the number of Hamas projectiles but be completely clueless about Israel’s arsenal.

          • http://www.thejackb.com/ The JackB

            Nobody knows what the hell you are talking about. We could ask you to explain why the Arabs massacred Jews in Hebron in 1929, well before the rebirth of the state of Israel. We could ask you to explain what you mean when you talk about about occupation beginning in 1948. Remember that was after the UN partition plan was rejected by the Arab states and they started a war they lost.

            No one who accepts the validity of the state of Israel says that it has been occupied since 1948, other than Hamas. You know that terrorist entity that used mafia tactics to kick Fatah out of power in Gaza, the one that uses human shields, exploits Palestinians and is devoted to the destruction of Israel. So if we are talking about that terrorist entity and you are saying Israel has been occupied since ’48 we are also saying you support Hamas which makes you a terrorist.

            So terrorist let’s move on to the next step which is no one understands what the hell you are referring to when you say 39 years. You said Hamas was formed in ’87 but that is 27 years ago but someone who supports terrorists often has trouble with logic. Since math and logic are related it stands to reason this describes you.

            I am typing slowly so you can keep up. You only negotiate peace with people who are willing to make peace with you. Since the Hamas charter is committed to the destruction of Israel they clearly aren’t interested in peace.

            Those wack jobs knew they were going to attack Israel. They could have spent money building bomb shelters for Palestinians but they didn’t which shows they don’t plan well, are very stupid or want their people to die. Could be all three but I am voting for the third option.

            Quoting Snowden and expecting anyone to think that is significant is about as effective as demonstrating a lack of logic, understanding and poor math skills. Oh wait…

          • I.P Enrile

            Hahahaa the one who has problems with math here is, oh wait, YOU. The 39 years were deduced from 1948 to 1987 (date of the founding of Hamas). I was saying that before Hamas, you also had another pretext to kill and continue your illegal occupation of Palestine: The PLO, Fatah, back in the day when they were still popular. You can go ahead and get your calculator. LMAO. And yeah about Hamas, who instigated the creation of Muslim fundamentalists so as to divide and conquer the unity of the Palestinian struggle? Oops. And now that Hamas has become more politically popular and powerful than Fatah and the PLO, the Zionists decided to negotiate with the “terrorist” PLO. LMAO. So it’s you who have no Math skills and Logic.

            You just admit it now, just like how Zionist politicians are doing now, that your real problem is the entire Palestinian population not their resistance groups. You want to kill them all and steal their land.

            I’m gonna tell you what happened in 1929 in Hebron: members of the Betar Zionist jewish youth movement (a pre-STATE org of Revisionist Zionists) demonstrated and raised a Zionist flag over the Western Wall. Arabs responded (JUST LIKE HOW ZIONISTS WOULD HAVE RESPONDED if the situation were reversed; JUST LIKE HOW ZIONISTS ARE DOING RIGHT NOW TO PALESTINIAN peaceful demonstrations in Ramallah). But here is the catch: MUSLIM neighbors around the area SAVED and RESCUED the Jews from the Arab attackers, and this was affirmed by Jews who lived through that event.

            You can take a seat and cry now. XOXO

          • I.P Enrile

            Speaking of human shields, the IDF has been videod and documented to be using Palestinian child prisoners as human shields in the past. How evil!

          • I.P Enrile

            The only one who cannot grasp the meaning of the Snowden report is you because you lack logic :P

  • madjakk

    Gee….I remember the UN withdrawing its personnel and closing down its facilities during the second Iraqi War…..why are you still in Gaza….especially knowing that Hamas is in perpetual conflict with Israel.
    Their charter calls for the destruction of Israel…..Hmmmm….big clue that peace is the last thing on their minds.
    The bigger question is why the US taxpayer puts up with you and your corrupt, crony, maligned, socialist organization…..get out of the US and take your cadre of third world neo-fascists with you.

  • Mark Flanigan

    You don’t believe in peace, so there is no point engaging with you.

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