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Families of Palestinians killed in 2014 Gaza war stage protest at PLO office

Jan. 30, 2017 2:50 P.M. (Updated: Feb. 3, 2017 4:16 P.M.)
GAZA (Ma’an) -- Families of Palestinians killed in the 2014 Israeli war on Gaza shut down an office of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in Gaza on Monday to protest the national organization’s failure to transfer allowances.

A spokesperson for the committee of slain Palestinians' families, Alaa al-Birawi, told Ma’an that the families of slain Palestinians had closed off the PLO association for the families of the wounded and martyrs because of the association’s failure to transfer allowances it had promised to the families.

The head of the PLO association, Muhammad al-Nahal, said that he was “surprised” when tens of slain Palestinians’ relatives entered the office on Monday morning and demanded that it be shut down.

Al-Nahal said that 2,000 families were still receiving allowances more than two and a half years after the devastating Israeli offensive on Gaza as a financial compensation for the deaths of their relatives.

The protest came as a subcommittee of Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, announced on Sunday that it had approved the publication of a State Comptroller’s Report on the 2014 Gaza war at an unspecified date, Israeli media reported.

While Israeli sources said they expected the report to be a “political bombshell” for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, leaked excerpts from the report seemingly indicated criticism of Israeli officials’ failure to communicate information to the security cabinet regarding the Hamas movement’s military capabilities, rather than an investigation into possible war crimes committed by the Israeli army in Gaza.

The 50-day offensive caused the deaths of 2,251 Palestinians, 1,462 of them civilians, and 72 Israelis, five of them civilians, according to UN documentation.

A recent report adopted by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe last week stated that the humanitarian situation in Gaza had “significantly worsened” since 2014, adding that 17,650 families, amounting to some 100,000 people, were displaced by the conflict.

At least 142 Palestinian families have lost three or more members in attacks on residential buildings during the Israeli assault, the UN reported, adding that there were credible allegations that the incidents amounted to war crimes.

The Gaza Strip has suffered under an Israeli military blockade since 2007, when Hamas became the de facto ruling party in the territory. Residents of Gaza suffer from high unemployment and poverty rates, as well as the consequences of three devastating wars with Israel since 2008.

The UN warned in 2015 that the besieged Palestinian territory could become “uninhabitable” by 2020 due to the crippling situation for Gaza’s more than 1.8 million inhabitants.
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