The UNRWA Chief Apologizes For His Comments on The Israeli Gaza Attacks

Published May 30th, 2021 - 06:16 GMT
UNWRA official says sorry for latest remarks on Israeli strikes on Gaza
Fighters with the Saraya al-Quds Brigades, the armed wing of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement, parade with their weapons in the streets of Gaza City during a rally, on May 29, 2021, more than a week after a ceasefire brought an end to 11 days of hostilities between Israel and Hamas. Mahmud Hams / AFP

An office-bearer of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNWRA) has apologized for his statement that the recent Israeli airstrikes on Gaza appeared to be carried out with "sophistication" and "precision."

"I am not a military expert, but I also have the impression that there is a huge sophistication in the way that the Israeli military strikes struck over the last 11 days," UNRWA’s Gaza director Matthias Schmale told Israel’s Channel 12 on Sunday. “Yes they didn’t hit, with some exceptions, civilian targets, but the viciousness, the ferocity of those strikes was heavily felt."

He added: "... so I think the precision was there but there was unacceptable and unbearable loss of life on the civilian side."

Schmale's remarks were strongly condemned by Palestinian rights groups, as well as Turkey whose Foreign Ministry termed them "incorrect, unfortunate and extremely dangerous."

The UN official has since apologized for his comments. "[...] I deeply regret that my comments about the precision of IDF strikes are being misused to justify what cannot be justified. Killing children breaks the rules of war and must be independently investigated. There must not be impunity!," he said on Twitter.

In another tweet, he wrote: "Recent remarks I made on Israeli TV have offended & hurt those who had family members & friends killed & injured during the war that has just ended. I truly regret to have caused them pain."

An Egyptian-brokered truce that took effect in the early hours of May 21 ended Israel’s 11-day bombardment on Gaza Strip.

The onslaught in Gaza and the West Bank killed at least 288 people, including women and children, and left behind a trail of destruction. Health centers, media offices, as well as schools were among the structures targeted.

The head of the UN Human Rights Council has said that the Israeli airstrikes may constitute war crimes.

This article has been adapted from its original source.

© Copyright Andolu Ajansi

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