Ref: 70 /2021
Date:25 May 2021
ICSPR: ICSPR strongly denounces the media statements of UNRWA’s Director in the Gaza Strip
The International Commission to Support Palestinians’ Rights “ICSPR” follows up with great disapproval and concern the media statements made by the Gaza Director of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency “UNRWA” Matthias Shamali, during an interview he had with Israeli Channel 12, yesterday, Sunday “May 23”, where he confirmed that he had no doubt about the accuracy of the bombing carried out by the Israeli occupation forces on the Gaza Strip, and that the Israeli army conducted it with great professionalism and didn’t strike -with some exceptions- civilian objects.
Shamali’s statement, in addition to being a violation of the system of values that govern and regulate the work of UNRWA, and exceed the mandate granted to the director of its operations in the Gaza Strip, it carries a deliberate disregard for the suffering of thousands of Palestinian civilians who were targeted in the recent Israeli aggression, during which the occupation forces escalated the targeting of civilian properties and homes, which led to the mass extermination of 17 families.
Shamali’s media statement clearly shows the reasons behind dozens of decisions he made since he assumed his duties, especially those related to the rights of Arab employees in the agency, and related to reducing food parcels that are distributed to the refugee community in the Gaza Strip, and the failure to fulfill the duties of caring for the Palestinian families who fled to UNRWA schools during the recent Israeli aggression.
ICSPR condemns Shamali’s statement in the strongest possible terms and confirms that it doesn’t reflect the reality of the Israeli crimes that killed 254 martyrs, including 66 children and 39 women, and injured1984 others, and led to widespread destruction of civilian homes, the infrastructure and the agricultural and industrial sectors. ICSPR believes that Shamali has to stop the misleading statements, and stresses that such statements create a state of due mistrust between the UNRWA administration and the Palestinian community, which has struggled to continue granting UNRWA an international mandate to perform its duties and to counter the American-Israeli arrogance that wants to liquidate the role of UNRWA. Therefore:
• ICSPR calls on Mr. Philippe Lazzarini, Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, to clarify the position of UNRWA on the statements of its director in the Gaza Strip, and to apologize to the local community, especially the families of Israeli crimes’ victims, and to work to hold Shamali accountable and ensure his removal from office.
• ICSPR calls on the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East to fulfill all its duties towards the rights of the refugee community, including contributing to relieve those affected by the Israeli war operations that clearly targeted civilians.