A chilling report appeared in the Guardian newspaper today, here.
Guardian Correspondent in Jerusalem Harriet Sherwood wrote: “Israeli authorities have approved the delivery of four submachine guns to the main UN agency in Gaza for the protection of its head, John Ging, following assassination attempts and death threats … The UN is thought to use machine guns to protect its personnel in highly volatile and dangerous places such as Somalia. There have been two attempts to assassinate Ging, an energetic and charismatic advocate for the rights of Palestinian refugees. In March 2007, masked gunman fired at least 14 bullets at Ging’s armoured car as it travelled through Gaza. A second attack a few months later left one Palestinian dead and several wounded”.
So now, UNRWA is going to shoot back?
And, if so, what are the possible consequences?
UNRWA — the “United Nations Relief and Works Agency” for Palestinian refugees — has had plenty of problems through the years. But, if it now starts to shoot at Palestinians, its situation in Gaza will become untenable.
What good are four “submachine” guns going to do, if there’s a real attack on the UNRWA Director of Operations, John Ging, who these weapons are reportedly meant to protect?
Maybe the UN should pull out of Gaza, instead of running around with a few powerful weapons.
If the UN begins shooting up the place, there’s no telling what will happen next.
Sherwood wrote that “Chris Gunness, UNRWA’s spokesman, said: ‘We don’t discuss security policy’.” In that case, I wonder where she got this story from? Israeli security services?
Sherwood added: “The weapons were received by the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) last week after the necessary permits were issued, an Israeli spokesman said. UNRWA first requested permission to bring in four German-made Heckler & Koch submachine guns three years ago to supplement the handguns used by Ging’s close protection team, according to the spokesman. ‘We got a formal request five months ago, and they received the guns last week’, he added … Ging, a former officer in the Irish army, has headed UNRWA in Gaza since 2006”.
UNRWA asked “permission” to bring in submachine guns three years ago?
[That is, months after the Hamas rout of Fatah/Palestinian Security forces in Gaza in mid-June 2007, and after the Israeli government decision on 19 September 2007 to declare Gaza “enemy territory” or a “hostile entity”, and after the Israeli military began at the end of October 2007 to “implement” the government decision by imposing racheted-up and unsupervised sanctions on 1.5 million people living in one of the most densely-populated places on earth? Then, the UN asked to bring in submachine guns?]
And, another formal request was made by UNRWA five months ago?
Then, Israeli authorities allowed the submachine guns to enter Gaza just last week?
Of course, UNRWA would never consider bringing the guns in through the Hamas-controlled tunnels…
But, why are “Israeli authorities” allowing four “submachine” guns into Gaza, now?
What is really going on here?
No. Something is not right. It would be better for UNRWA to just leave.