Matthias Schmale, the head of the UNRWA in Gaza, apologized on Tuesday for the remarks he made about IDF strikes on the Gaza Strip, calling them “precise and sophisticated.”
“I got the impression that there was huge sophistication in the way the IDF struck [the Strip] over the past 11 days,” Schmale told Channel 12 News last week. He also said that there was no shortage of food, water, or medical supplies in the Strip because Israel kept the border crossings open despite ongoing rocket fire [except for when Hamas fired rockets at the crossings themselves while aid was being transferred, injuring an IDF soldier].
In fact, Schmale’s words were extremely accurate, as according to Hamas’s official data the number of Gazans killed during Operation Guardian of the Walls was only 230, despite the IDF bombing over 1,000 targets in the Strip. Furthermore, the IDF said that 160 of the dead were terrorists, which means that only 60 of the dead were civilians, some of whom were killed by Hamas’s own rockets as a full third of missiles launched from the Strip landed inside it.
The UN official, Matthias Schmale, also notes that there was no shortage of food, water, or supplies in Gaza because Israel kept the border crossings open despite ongoing rocket fire (aside from when Hamas fired rockets at the crossings themselves). https://t.co/Jt4q0vQTDq
— Avi Mayer (@AviMayer) May 25, 2021
Nevertheless, Schmale’s words sparked outrage from Palestinians. Two Palestinian NGOs stated on Tuesday that Schmale “completely ignored the crimes committed during the latest Israeli offensive against Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip”.
Hamas said that Schmale’s “comments are a complete distortion in favor of the Zionists including an attempt to exonerate the Occupation of the murder of 254 Palestinians, more than 40% of them children, women and the elderly.”
Schmale partially retracted his statements on Tuesday, saying that “military precision and sophistication are never a justification for war”.
“Recent remarks I made on Israeli TV have offended & hurt those who had family members & friends killed & injured during the war that has just ended,” he wrote on Twitter. “I truly regret to have caused them pain.”
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)