BEIRUT

Middle East

UN official breaks down on live TV over Gaza

A Palestinian boy passes time in the courtyard of a U.N. school in Gaza City, Monday, July 28, 2014. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

BEIRUT: UNRWA spokesmen Chris Gunness broke down in tears during an interview Wednesday evening on Al-Jazeera TV after detailing the humanitarian impact of the Israeli shelling on Gaza.

“The rights of Palestinians, even their children, are wholesale denied and it's appalling,” Gunness said, seconds before he turned red, sobbed and cried at the end of the Al-Jazeera interview.

Gunness was talking about the aftermath of Israeli strikes on a U.N.-run school in Jabalya, where thousands of Palestinian refugees were sheltering after fleeing their homes following an Israeli warning.

Sixteen people were killed in the brutal shelling, which received widespread condemnation, including from the U.N. refugee agency's Commissioner General Pierre Krahenbuhl, who said that the school's location had been communicated to the Israeli army 17 times.

Gunness has been in the public spotlight since the latest Israeli assault on Gaza began 24 days ago, publicizing the difficulties that the agency faces trying to shelter more than 200,000 Palestinians in its schools and facilities across the tiny coastal enclave. The spokesman has tweeted numerous pictures of the children and refugees his agency is serving, while highlighting Israeli violations of UNRWA facilities.

Although breaking down while cameras are rolling for such high-profile figure could be seen as somewhat uncomfortable, Gunness said his tears spoke louder than words.

“There r times when tears speak more eloquently than words. Mine pale into insignificance compared with #Gaza's,” Gunness tweeted after the interview.

On his Twitter account, Gunness describes himself as an “UNRWA Spokesman advocating passionately for Palestine refugees to enjoy all their rights to the full, including the right to a just and durable solution.”

 

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Summary

UNRWA spokesmen Chris Gunness broke down in tears during an interview Wednesday evening on Al-Jazeera TV after detailing the humanitarian impact of the Israeli shelling on Gaza.

Sixteen people were killed in the brutal shelling, which received widespread condemnation, including from the U.N. refugee agency's Commissioner General Pierre Krahenbuhl, who said that the school's location had been communicated to the Israeli army 17 times.

Gunness has been in the public spotlight since the latest Israeli assault on Gaza began 24 days ago, publicizing the difficulties that the agency faces trying to shelter more than 200,000 Palestinians in its schools and facilities across the tiny coastal enclave.


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