Matthias Schmale, the director of UNRWA in the Gaza Strip, apologized on Tuesday for telling Israel’s Channel 12 last Saturday that, with only a few exceptions, the targets attacked by Israel were not civilian. Before his apology was published, Hamas and Palestinian human rights organizations condemned Schmale’s remarks, which, in the Gaza Strip could mean maybe he didn’t need to renew his subscription to the NY Times.
Hamas expressed shock at the fact that Schmale “appointed himself a military commentator or spokesman on behalf of the Israeli army that excuses the harm to civilians and their homes, reduces the extent of the damage and praises the ability of the occupation army and the accuracy of its attacks.”
Hams demanded an apology and called on the UN to prevent the recurrence of similar cases as well as to take measures “against those who made this serious mistake.”
Schmale also told the Israeli TV channel that “during the 11 days of fighting, we did not run out of food, water, and supplies, which would have happened if the border crossings had not been opened.” That’s a borderline show of gratitude for the Zionist occupiers who, despite being shelled by Hamas and Islamic Jihad rockets and mortars, continued to show compassion for the civilian population.
The director of UNRWA in Gaza added that “the border crossings have been open since yesterday (last Friday) and goods and supplies are being transferred to the Strip again, so from my point of view there does not seem to be a severe or serious shortage of medicines, food or water, as long as they continue to be sent into the Strip.”
The Channel 12 interviewer, Arad Nir, asked: “Officials in Israel claim that the bombings carried out by the IDF were very accurate. What impression did you get from those attacks?”
“Although I am not an expert on military matters, I do not deny it,” Schmale answered, “I, too, was under the impression that the attacks by the Israeli army were carried out with great sophistication. But for me, this is not the problem. The problem is different: many colleagues explained to me that in their opinion, compared to the operation carried out in 2014, this time the effect of the attacks was much crueler.”
He explained that “although they have hardly harmed civilian targets, the cruelty of the attacks was felt even more. For example, I visited a colleague’s office and under her desk was a large stone thrown in through the window, through the roof, as a result of the blast. If she had been sitting at the table she would have been killed.”
Of course, the reason said colleague was not sitting at her table was that she, or her landlord, received a warning call on their cellphones from the IDF an hour before the attack. Israeli media also reported on many occasions when, despite the clearance they had received from IDF Intelligence and the Shin Bet, Air Force pilots decided not to hit a target if they suspected any civilian presence.
When asked by Nir, “How do the Hamas authorities share the burden of rehabilitation and reconstruction?” the UNRWA director in Gaza responded: “It is impossible to work in a place like the Gaza Strip without cooperating with the authorities, this is true of any similar autocratic government.”
Hamas is autocratic? Oh no…
On Tuesday, Schmale sent an e-mail to the UNRWA staff in Gaza, noting that his remarks to Israeli television had offended and insulted many that their family members and friends had been killed and wounded in the war that had just ended.
“Military accuracy and sophistication are never justifications for war … there is no justification for killing civilians,” he wrote. “It’s just unbearable that so many innocent people have paid with their lives … Many people were killed or seriously injured in direct attacks or as collateral damage. In a place where the population is as dense as Gaza, any attack causes immense damage to people and buildings. The terror from the sky we have experienced is a form of collective punishment of the civilian population. It must not happen again.”
So, cruel Zionist government, pay attention, next time Hamas shoots 4,000 rockets at your civilians, turn off Iron Dome and send the IAF pilots on a much-needed vacation. Because the only way to clear Israel’s name in the world is with numerous dead Israelis.