اجعلنا صفحة البداية RSS خدمة Add to favorite Facebook Twitter


Palestinians 'facing a precipice,' UN Council told
Published Thursday 31/07/2014 (updated) 01/08/2014 16:59
Font- Font+
A displaced Palestinian boy looks out from a makeshift tent at the
al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City where many Palestinians have have
taken refuge after fleeing attacks in the Shujaiyya neighborhood
of the city, on July 31, 2014 (AFP Mahmud Hams)
UNITED NATIONS, United States (AFP) -- Palestinians are "facing a precipice" in Gaza, the top UN refugee official there told the Security Council on Thursday in a strongly-worded appeal for action.

With more than 220,000 Palestinians already sheltering in UN facilities -- four times the number from the last Gaza conflict in 2008-2009 -- Philippe Krahenbuhl said he had reached breaking point.

"I believe the population is facing a precipice and appeal to the international community to take the steps necessary to address this extreme situation," the head of the UN Palestinian refugee agency UNRWA told the 15-member council.

"We have exceeded the tolerable limit that we can accommodate," Krahenbuhl said, adding that he was "alarmed" by the latest Israeli instructions to civilians to evacuate two areas in Gaza targeted for more attacks.

"It is past time for an immediate and unconditional ceasefire as called for by the council," he said.

Krahenbuhl spoke to the council by audiolink from Gaza after Israel vowed to press on with its military campaign to destroy a network of tunnels used by Hamas militants for attacks.

International alarm has grown over the civilian death toll from 24 days of fighting between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza strip, with the Security Council calling for a humanitarian truce in a statement issued early Monday.

In her address to the council, UN humanitarian aid chief Valerie Amos called for "more humanitarian pauses" to allow relief workers to reach those in need.

"Pauses must be daily, predictable, and adequate in length so that humanitarian staff can dispatch relief to those in need, rescue the injured, recover the dead and allow civilians some reprieve so that they can restock and resupply their homes," she said.

Amos said finding shelter from Israeli strikes was becoming increasingly difficult for the 1.8 million people of Gaza.

"The reality of Gaza today is that no place is safe," she said.

More than 1,300 Palestinians, mostly civilians, have died in the fighting, along with 58 Israelis, most of them soldiers.

The appeal to the council came a day after an attack on a UN-run school hosting refugees left 19 dead, drawing outrage from UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon who lashed out: "Nothing is more shameful than attacking sleeping children."

UN officials have said they believe an Israeli artillery strike hit the school and have called for a full investigation.

Appalling conditions in UN shelters

Krahenbuhl described dire conditions for the shelters with very few showers and latrines, and problems with water supplies in classrooms holding 80 people.

"Disease outbreak is beginning" with cases of skin infections such as scabies while thousands of pregnant women have taken refuge in the UN schools, he said.

"We are sheltering newborn infants in these appalling conditions," said the head of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinians.

"The illegal blockade of Gaza must be lifted," he added, referring to Israeli closure of crossing points that rights groups maintain have turned the Gaza Strip into an "open prison."

Palestinian representative Riyad Mansour renewed his appeal to the Security Council to adopt a tough resolution calling for an end to the fighting, an Israeli withdrawal from Gaza and lifting of the Israeli blockade.

"Enough is enough, this genocide should be stopped immediately," Mansour told reporters after the council meeting.

Jordan last week circulated a draft resolution, but the council has yet to debate the measure and has instead adopted a statement calling for the humanitarian truce.

The statement was adopted despite reservations from the United States which was hoping to give diplomatic efforts a chance to yield results in the region.

Israeli Ambassador Ron Prosor told reporters that Israel had agreed to "every humanitarian ceasefire" in the conflict and renewed accusations that Hamas was using civilians as shields.

He showed aerial photographs of Hamas rocket launch sites, saying these were close to schools. "Nothing is off-limits for Hamas," said Prosor.
1 ) JoeFattal / USA
31/07/2014 22:42
No, Hamas is not using civilians as human shields. Where are they going to store their amunitions?. Wherever place they can find. Gaza is a Ghetto, and in a Ghetto you will find all kind of weapons and amunitions. Warsaw was a Ghetto, where Israel think the Jews in Warsaw store their weapons that smuggle through tunnels?. Anywhere they can. The Jews lost, the Nazis blew up the whole area. What we see its similar. Israel will probably blow up Gaza from outside since they can't face Hamas.

2 ) spb / usa
31/07/2014 22:59
international community has so much on its hand that the likelyhood for UNRWA to get appropriate funding runs between zero to none. That does not takes into account the fact the UNRWA run by Hamas. The schools previously blamed for hate teaching are now also know to store rockets and militants, thete's your anti money laundering

3 ) Outlier / USA
31/07/2014 23:37
A precipice is one thing. A precipice that Hamas put Gaza on due to the missile attacks that caused this conflict is another. "Enough is enough" is correct; Hamas should enact a ceasefire Israel can join immediately, so Gazans can get the help they need.

4 ) Tibi / Tubas
31/07/2014 23:39
Hamas is herding the people over this "precipice" or cliff, and The people of Gaza should tell Hamas - "You First".

5 ) Gabriele Awartani / Germany
31/07/2014 23:50
If Israel is bent on flattening Gaza and destroying all the tunnels plus killing all members of the resistance - and insisting it tries its best to avoid civilian deaths, then it must evacuate all civilians at once. It must find a place where the civilians can be provided for and will not be bombed incessantly. Otherwise all their insincere regrets about the loss of human lives are just hypocrisy. What goes on at present is brutal beyond belief, all out slaughter.

6 ) David / USA
01/08/2014 00:09
The UN has been letting Hamas get away with murder, literally. The 'precipice' is whether or not the people of Gaza choose to rid themselves of Hamas. If they choose to support Hamas, Gaza will be reduced to a parking lot. If they truly want better lives for their families and children, they will point out Hamas safe houses and members to Israeli soldiers. Time for them to decide: jihad and death or civilization and life.

7 ) Paul / UK
01/08/2014 07:04
In truth, it's the world who lets Israel get away with theft and murder since decades. Hamas and other radical liberation groups exists only because Israel screws the palestinians so hard sine eons (with 99% of the world ignoring it or deliberately turning a blind eye) that there is no other answer than violence and provocation to further the cause of the liberation of their people from Israeli oppression.

8 ) Miriam / Usa
01/08/2014 13:35
@6, David/USA what you are suggesting is a bit like the Jews who collaborated & worked for the Nazis in WW2, sending their own people to certain death. I'm not just talking about those in the death camps, but those who lived in the ghettos & those who openly fraternised. Each person has their own choices to make, however for sure the majority of people in Gaza would not choose to allow Zionist terrorists to dictate the terms of their existence. They trust in God & have faith in Him & His Mercy.

9 ) David / USA
01/08/2014 15:26
Miriam, recall that the people of Gaza elected Hamas. Over the last 9 years, Hamas has had every opportunity to govern and build a peaceful and productive Gaza. Did they? No. They looted tens of millions of dollars of agricultural infrastructure that COULD have created jobs. Hamas DID import heavy weapons from Iran which is why the blockade was created. Did the people of Gaza cry "Leave Israel alone!!"? Nope. Did they say "No more rockets!"? Nope. The Zionists aren't the terrorists here.

10 ) Paul / UK
01/08/2014 18:09
Let's stop with the charade that the blockade exists in response to Hamas. The blockade started immediately after Israel pulled out its settlers. Hamas got elected because of the blockade.

11 ) Thayer / France
01/08/2014 18:22
# 9 David/USA - What a joke. The people of Gaza may have elected Hamas, but US & Israel ensured that no governing could take place. They demonised Hamas, rejected the free and fair elections that had taken place, and put the people of Gaza under siege for eight years. Then you wonder why Hamas allegedly imported heavy weapons from Iran. Hypocrisy at its best, especially as your country is now supplying the weapons that are killing and maiming civilians, whilst pretending to be an honest broker.

12 ) pedepsa / Sweden
02/08/2014 09:53
David you are a sick person, i hope to God you don't raise NO kids!!!!!!
Name Country
Note: Comments will be reviewed for appropriate content. Click here for more details.


Netanyahu speech risks more than Obama's ire
3 children killed in Hebron apartment fire
Israeli extremists set fire to Christian seminary in Jerusalem

Close Next Previous
All Rights Reserved © Ma'an News Agency 2005 - 2014