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Monday, July 22, 2024

Israeli attack on refugee camp ‘an atrocity’ – UN

Humanitarian affairs official Martin Griffiths has warned of a global crisis unless Israel and Hamas end hostilities

Israel’s bombing of the Jabalia refugee camp in Gaza is just “the latest atrocity” to befall the Palestinian people living in the enclave, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Martin Griffiths has said.

Hamas reported on Tuesday that as many as 400 Palestinians had been killed or injured by an Israeli attack on the densely populated Jabalia camp. An Israel Defense Forces (IDF) spokesperson later confirmed the attack, stating the airstrikes had targeted a “very important” Hamas commander and his unit. The IDF representative called the civilian casualties a tragedy, but ultimately blamed their deaths on the Hamas leadership, saying it had “embedded itself among the civilian population.”

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In a statement published on Wednesday, following his two-day visit to Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory, Griffiths surmised that the fighting in Gaza has entered “an even more terrifying phase, with increasingly dreadful humanitarian consequences.”

“October 7th and its aftermath will leave indelible scars on the lives of millions,” Griffiths said, referring to the initial attack by Hamas militants on Israeli territories near Gaza, which claimed the lives of 1,400 people, and Israel’s response which has so far seen as many as 8,600 Palestinians killed, according to Gaza health authorities.

“This cannot go on. We need a step change, stressed the UN official. He further called for all hostages captured by Hamas to be released immediately and unconditionally, for both sides to respect their obligations under international humanitarian law and to stop targeting civilians.

Griffiths concluded by calling on “those with influence” to work towards a de-escalation of the conflict, warning that “failure to act now will have consequences far beyond the region.”

On Tuesday, the director of the UN’s human rights office (OHCHR) in New York, Craig Mokhiber, described Israel’s actions in Gaza as a “textbook case of genocide” and resigned from his position, stating that the UN had “surrendered to the power of the US” and failed in its duty to prevent the killing of Palestinian civilians.

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The US has so far shown little intention of pushing for a ceasefire in Gaza and has instead pledged its unending support for Israel and its right to “self-defense.” US Senator Lindsey Graham has even suggested that Washington would stand by Israel regardless of how many civilians are killed in its fight against Hamas.