UNRWA Chief Expresses Concern Over Diminished Western Response to Gaza Crisis

Fri Jun 07 2024
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LONDON: The head of UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees has raised concerns over the desensitization of Western media over the Israeli military strikes in Gaza Strip.

Speaking in the wake of deadly Israeli bombing on a UNRWA-run school in Nuseirat that left at least 40 Palestinians, mostly children, dead, Sam Rose said that Israeli military strikes in Gaza have “normalised” mass casualty incidents in Western media that would have previously been remembered forever.

Since the beginning of Israeli attacks on Gaza on October 7 last year, none of UNRWA’s around 300 schools in Gaza have been able to function normally, instead serving as shelters for refugees. He said more than 36,000 people Palestinians have been killed and hundreds of thousands of Gazans displaced in the wake of Israeli attacks.

“There were about 6,000 people sheltering in that school. There are rules of war that we call on all sides of the conflict to adhere to: to protect the inviolability of our installations. There are also principles of distinction, and of proportionality.

“People will have been sheltering in the courtyard of the school in the most desperate of conditions and there will have been no warning that this strike has taken place. It happened in the middle of the night about 2 a.m,” the Guardian quoted Rose as saying.

Rose raised concerns over the violation of international laws of war, particularly targeting civilian institutions such as schools. He expressed dismay over the western media of taking such incidents as normal. He said that in past conflicts, incidents like these would evoke shock and outrage and would be remembered forever, but now its become normalised.

Recalling his last visit to Gaza, Rose said that he was taken aback by “the sheer number of people with crutches and wheelchairs with missing limbs, with wounds”.

He underscored the dire humanitarian situation in Gaza, with certain areas experiencing a loss of control and escalating suffering.

As the conflict persists, thousands have sought refuge in UNRWA schools, though Israel’s continued assaults have forced many to flee, exacerbating the already dire situation.

Rose highlighted the plight of those displaced from Rafah, illustrating the desperate conditions faced by families forced to abandon their homes and belongings.

He said aid supplies are insufficient to supply such a high number of refugees with necessary food, shelter and equipment.

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