Middle East News

U.N. Official Breaks Down On Live Broadcast Over Gaza School Shelling

Empty Classroom

He struggled valiantly to compose himself and act professionally in front of the camera, but even for a veteran aid worker and journalist, the constant flow of senseless and indiscriminate killings in Gaza suddenly became too much to bear.

UN Relief and Works Agency’s Gaza director Chris Gunness broke down in tears on a live interview with Al-Jazeera Arabic t.v., while lamenting how the fighting is horrendously violating Palestinians’ rights, The Huffington Post reported.

[quote text_size=”small” author=”– Chris Gunness” author_title=”UNRWA head for Gaza”]

The rights of Palestinians, and even their children, are wholesale denied… and its appalling.


The 43-second video showed Gunness struggling to keep his cool, but was unable to contain his emotions after witnessing three-weeks of violence in the Gaza strip. He momentarily blinked, then covered his eyes with his hands  as he broke down and cried. He was quickly comforted by a colleague while the camera panned away from his grief-stricken outbreak of emotion.

During the night an Israeli air strike reportedly hit the U.N.’s largest shelter in Gaza–where at least 3,300 refugees had sought shelter, killing at least 17 people and injuring 90 others in their sleep, Palestine health officials said. It is the sixth or seventh attack on a U.N. safe shelter, Gunness said in a previous interview.

The video clip gave a rare glimpse of the stress and trauma that relief workers must face in war-ravaged lands when even a former BBC journalist and veteran war correspondent such as Gunness suddenly proved unable to withhold the feelings of shock and horror that have been induced by the daily scenes of grotesque violence in Gaza–particularly women and children running for their lives, terrified and with nowhere to turn for sanctuary, The Telegraph reported.

The three-week battle in the Palestinian territory has claimed more than 1,300 Palestinian lives–most of them civilians, and a fifth of them children–a number that will certainly rise in the coming days as long as Israeli and Hamas refuse to agree on a truce.

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