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UN: 200,000 Gazans displaced by violence

Morning Star Online, UK

Sunday 18 January 2009

THE UN and human rights organisations revealed on Sunday that 200,000 Palestinians have been driven from their homes by the war in Gaza.

The Gaza-based Mezan Centre for Human Rights estimates that 150,000 Palestinians have fled to homes of relatives and friends while the UN said that more than 45,000 Gazans are crowded into 49 UN schools that have been converted into shelters.

Israel's 18-month siege of Gaza has trapped the 1.5 million impoverished inhabitants in a virtual prison camp, just 25 miles long and seven miles wide. Only those with foreign passports were permitted to leave during the 22-day assault.

On Saturday, Israeli shells struck a UN school in northern Gaza, killing two people in the building, where 1,600 people were sheltering. Hundreds of people fled to nearby Kamal Adwan hospital in northern Gaza for cover.

It was the third UN school to be targeted by the Israeli military. The UN headquarters was also hit, destroying a warehouse full of desperately needed food aid.

Senior UN official in Gaza John Ging said in desperation: "Innocent children and innocent men and women are dying here in Gaza hour by hour by hour.

"What are these poor people to do? Where are they to go now? They're asking me: 'Where should we go?' I don't know where they can go."

New York-based Human Rights Watch has said that Israel's use of artillery in Gaza violates international law.

Israeli Cabinet Minister Shaul Mofaz claimed that Israeli operations were "surgical" and "fully justified."

During Israel's 2006 war on Lebanon, more than a million Lebanese citizens were displaced and more than 1,000 were killed.






:: Article nr. 50987 sent on 18-jan-2008 19:04 ECT

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Link: www.morningstaronline.co.uk/index.php/news/world/un_200_000_gazans_displaced_by_
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