As scenes of carnage fill the screen with news of another grotesque Israeli attack on a UN school this morning the thought crossed my mind, “This could not be, so soon after, it must be old footage.” But no, it is all too real and has happened again. Ten people have been killed and “dozens” more injured when the deadly strike hit a street just outside of the gates of the school this morning in Rafah.
State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki called for an investigation, and stated the U.S. was “appalled” at the “disgraceful shelling” and “urged Israel to do more” to prevent civilian casualties.
UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon called the attack “criminal” and “a moral outrage” but I’m failing to grasp how this will prevent another incident of gross civilian human slaughter from reoccurring in the following days.
The school was sheltering more than 3,000 people displaced by fighting in the area. It has been the scene of heavy bombardment by the Israeli military and fierce clashes following the suspected capture by Hamas fighters of an Israeli soldier, later declared killed in action.
In a statement, Ban called on those responsible for the “gross violation of international humanitarian law” to be held accountable. He said the “Israel Defence Forces (IDF) have been repeatedly informed of the location of these sites.”
At the time of the strike – about 10.50am local time – dozens of children and adults were clustered around the gates buying biscuits and sweets from stalls set up by locals.
The missile struck the ground eight to 10 metres from the open gates. Witnesses at the scene less than an hour after the explosion claimed it had been fired from one of the many unmanned Israeli drones in the air above Rafah.
…it was the third time in 10 days that a UN school had been hit.
Elsewhere in Rafah, more than 30 other people have already been killed today. Rafah’s Abu Yousef el Najjar hospital is overwhelmed with the rising casualties.
Parts of Rafah are beginning to resemble Shuja’iyah. I’m no war reporter, just an ordinary person, but what are we to think when whole neighborhoods are destroyed one by one and residents seeking refuge in schools being slaughtered unmercifully? Look at this scene of Rafah from yesterday:
— Abbas Sarsour (@iFalasteen) August 2, 2014
Here is the full statement from Jen Psaki:
The United States is appalled by today’s disgraceful shelling outside an UNRWA school in Rafah sheltering some 3,000 displaced persons, in which at least ten more Palestinian civilians were tragically killed. The coordinates of the school, like all UN facilities in Gaza, have been repeatedly communicated to the Israeli Defense Forces. We once again stress that Israel must do more to meet its own standards and avoid civilian casualties. UN facilities, especially those sheltering civilians, must be protected, and must not be used as bases from which to launch attacks. The suspicion that militants are operating nearby does not justify strikes that put at risk the lives of so many innocent civilians. We call for a full and prompt investigation of this incident as well as the recent shelling of other UNRWA schools.
We continue to underscore that all parties must take all feasible precautions to prevent civilian casualties and protect the civilian population and comply with international humanitarian law.
This is not a war it is the decimation of Gaza bit by bit. More and more people are coming to the conclusion what’s happening in Gaza, looks like genocide. As the world looks on in horror, and people protest by the millions, I ask you what are we to do?
Just last week Ban Ki-moon called the Israel’s attack on another UN school in Jabaliya, which killed 16 people, “reprehensible”. We need more than hand wringing, denouncements, investigations and calls for accountability. We need justice, the occupation to end. If this were happening to Jewish families, all hell would be breaking loose in the halls of congress. Our government is worse than worthless, they are facilitating this crime against humanity.
Has humanity become so inured by Palestinian oppression and death we could stand by and witness a genocide before our very eyes and not recognize it is taking place? I don’t think so.