The Gaza Strip – A Death Zone for Thousands

A young boy stands in the ruins of a house which was destroyed during an air strike in Central Bureij refugee camp in the Gaza Strip. Photo: UNRWA
A young boy stands in the ruins of a house which was destroyed during an air strike in Central Bureij refugee camp in the Gaza Strip. Photo: UNRWA

Death Zone Gaza Strip

TEL AVIV – INTERNATIONAL – The Israeli army’s assault on Gaza has picked up where it left off before yesterday’s lull.

Israeli tanks continue to strike tunnels used by Hamas militants. Dozens of high-profile targets are being hit. In the latest assaults from land, sea and air, the home of a Hamas political leader was flattened, and Gaza’s only power plant was destroyed.

In southern Gaza, at least 17 people were killed in missile strikes. Many others — including children — had to be rescued from the rubble.

A young boy stands in the ruins of a house which was destroyed during an air strike in Central Bureij refugee camp in the Gaza Strip. Photo: UNRWA
A young boy stands in the ruins of a house which was destroyed during an air strike in Central Bureij refugee camp in the Gaza Strip. Photo: UNRWA

In another assault, even more Palestinians were killed and their homes destroyed. In the aftermath, neighbors desperately tried to free survivors.

Rafeh resident Abdel Aziz Zorob said, “They (Israeli army) hit a warning shot, but the men in the family did not escape from the house. Then minutes later, F16 jets hit the house with all that’s in it, with the first rocket.”

United Nations Resolutions Ineffective?

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has strongly urged all sides to avoid any further escalation in the Gaza conflict, warning of the devastating humanitarian impact on civilians in the enclave who have already suffered immensely since the crisis started.

The United Nations chief made the appeal in a statement issued last night by his spokesperson, after leaflets were reportedly dropped by the Israeli Defence Forces in the northern Gaza Strip warning tens of thousands of residents to leave their homes and evacuate to Gaza City.

“If true, this would have a further devastating humanitarian impact on the beleaguered civilians of those areas of the Gaza strip who have already undergone immense suffering in recent days,” said the statement.

It added that UN agencies in Gaza do not have the resources on the ground to cope with, or provide assistance to, an enormous extra influx of desperate people.

“The Secretary-General strongly urges all sides to avoid any further escalation at this time. He notes that all sides must meet all obligations under international humanitarian law, both towards civilians ahead of impending attacks, as well as maintaining proportionality in any kind of military response.”

Mr. Ban also reiterated his condemnation of the firing of rockets and the building of tunnels into Israel from Gaza.

“Once again, the Secretary-General underlines the critical importance of ending hostilities.”

The Israeli military offensive in Gaza, which is home to 1.8 million people, has left hundreds dead and thousands injured. Over 182,000 displaced people have now taken refuge in facilities run by the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).

In a related development, UNRWA said that a cache of rockets was found today at one of its schools in central Gaza. The discovery came during a regular UNRWA inspection of the school, which was closed for the summer and not being used as a shelter. All the relevant parties have been notified.

“We condemn the group or groups who endangered civilians by placing these munitions in our school,” said UNRWA spokesperson Chris Gunness. “This is yet another flagrant violation of the neutrality of our premises. We call on all the warring parties to respect the inviolability of UN property.”

The fighting in the Gaza Strip has left thousands of civilians in the Gaza Strip dead. Ten percent of the residents are now refugees.

Israeli Defense Forces Says Hamas Using Hospitals for Attacks

The Israeli Defense Forces are accusing the Hamas of choosing traditionally safe zones to mount their attacks against Israel. “Hamas chooses to use these protected areas for military purposes in order to shield itself from IDF strikes – and to draw international condemnation of Israel if the IDF is forced to respond”.

The IDF state, “In Hamas’ world, hospitals are command centers, ambulances are transport vehicles, and medics are human shields. Hamas’ actions in this regard are flagrant violations of international law. Hamas undermines the essential protections that enable the provision of medical services to those in need during wartime, and threatens the security of all who are carrying out legitimate medical services in dangerous conditions”.

FILES: DAILY MOTION / REUTERS