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Saturday, July 30, 2011

UNRWA beach camp in Gaza burned “AGAIN”

Lets play the blame game

Gaza, July 30, I guess it became a routine to hear about the burning or vandalizing of UNRWA’s children beach camp in Gaza, it has happened a few times over the past year and it happened yet again this year. Let me just brush over the official shared news in the mainstream media, UNRWA’s website and the top news agencies in the world:

CNN used UNRWA’s press release about the incident:

A U.N.-sponsored summer camp in Gaza was vandalized Thursday morning, the U.N. Relief and Works Agency said. Officials say a group of masked militants torched a U.N. flag and a stage, and damaged a billboard carrying Finnish, American and Australian flags.
The attack took place just hours before 15,000 local children attending UNRWA Summer Games prepared to smash a Guinness world record for the largest number of people flying kites.

"The igniting is an unacceptable cowardly act and severely harms the image of Gaza," said Adnan Abu Hassan, a legal adviser for the U.N. in Gaza. "We didn't expect this to happen, especially since this is the last day of the summer camp."

Abu Hassan said security was extremely high to ensure the safety of the children. "We have asked the government in Gaza to investigate the matter. Our answer to the attack is to continue the occasion as normal."
"The stage is set for another dramatic piece of world-record mega-theater," UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness said in preparation for record-breaking event.
"It will be nothing short of miraculous to achieve this under the punishing, illegal blockade. Three-quarters of a million children are being collectively punished, and there must be transparency and accountability to end this affront to our humanity. The kites will provide another iconic reminder of the beauty and potential of these children, despite the injustices they face," Gunness said in a statement released 24 hours before the attack.

Many other news agencies followed CNN’s footsteps while other pro-Israeli media outlets saw an opportunity to lash on Gaza and Hamas. On the other hand, all local and international human rights organizations in Gaza rushed to condemn the incident and “as usual” demanded actions, investigations and revelation.

Here is a background of similar incidents: It should be noted that during the summer of 2010, two attacks were launched on UNRWA summer camps by unknown persons. The first attack was launched on 23 May 2010 on a summer games camp on the beach in the west of Gaza City while the second attack was launched on 28 June 2010 on a camp in the west of Zawaida village in central Gaza Strip. No results of investigations were officially published with regard to these two attacks.

I am not here to join the others and play the blame game here, I am here to be the voice of the voiceless Gazan children.

I see that responsibility should be held to both Hamas (Hamas De Facto government has been ruling Gaza for several years now) and the UNRWA empire. These accidents happened before so I would expect from an organization such UNRWA to learn from it, and I would expect from a ruling political party like Hamas to learn from it also. They both failed to protect Gazan children and they both participated in lessening the “already” few places that Gazan children can have fun in and enjoy their summer.

Gaza is a small city yet neither Hamas nor the UNRWA could put their hands on the direction or people behind this yearly vandalism and I find that hard to believe, accept or swallow.

I have a question for the UNRWA: How come you spend millions on protecting all UNRWA foreign workers in Gaza and UNRWA’s visitors in Gaza by hiring body guards and shielded cars but you cant pay to ensure Gazan children’s safety? Why cant you spend some of the millions of donations that you collect to operate and place those camps on ensuring their safety by hiring body guards or security guards?

My second question goes to Hamas: How can you consider yourself as a strong political party that rules Gaza yet fails to protect its children? How can those anonymous masked men burn those camps down without being found or held or prosecuted? And how can It happen so many times?

During those past two years we have witnessed the burning of many newly built resorts in Gaza, and I cant understand how and why cant Hamas stop them? Or ensure that the streets of Gaza are safe?

Its one thing to speak and brag about security and it’s a totally different thing to enforce those brags by actions.

My third question goes to the Human Rights Organizations in Gaza: Why play the blame game when you should be raising questions and concerns about the safety of Gaza’s children? Why cant you see the real victims? And why focus the attention on UNRWA and Hamas instead of demanding more steps towards ensuring the safety of Gaza’s children?

At the end of the day, the only affected ones here are Gazan children. Their safety was threatened and they lost a place where they can spend a joyful summer. Yet UNRWA rushed to issue reports and collect donations, Hamas rushed to stress on the fact that it will do its best to catch those criminals and the local and international human rights organizations in Gaza rushed to play their blame game. My question is: Who will make it up for those children? Aren’t they the real victims here?

This act of vandalism for me represents two huge and major failures and ego blows to both Hamas and the UNRWA. I just pray they realize this fact and work better next year and care about those children rather than prioritizing their best and own interests.

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