Tragedy in Gaza: Israeli Airstrike on UNRWA School Kills 39 Displaced Palestinians

In a recent escalation of the ongoing conflict, an Israeli airstrike targeted a school in the Nuseirat refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip, resulting in the death of at least 39 displaced Palestinians. The school, run by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), was providing shelter to thousands of displaced people at the time of the attack.

The airstrike occurred in the early hours of Thursday, June 6, 2024. The victims included women and children, who were among the displaced Palestinians seeking refuge in the school. The Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in nearby Deir al-Balah received the bodies of the deceased.

The Israeli military claimed that the school was being used as a compound by Hamas. However, this claim has been met with skepticism and criticism, as UNRWA schools across Gaza have been functioning as shelters for the displaced Palestinian population since the start of the war.

The Nuseirat refugee camp, where the school is located, is one of several built-up refugee camps in Gaza dating back to the 1948 Arab-Israeli war. The camp is home to many Palestinians who were displaced during the war and subsequent conflicts.

This incident has added to the growing international criticism of Israel’s actions in the ongoing conflict with Hamas. The Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has faced criticism from other members of his War Cabinet over the handling of the situation in Gaza.

The Israeli military operation in Gaza has been marked by intense fighting with Hamas, the governing authority of the Gaza Strip. This recent airstrike has further inflamed tensions, as Israel’s leadership grapples with internal divisions over the governance of Gaza post-conflict.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu faces mounting criticism from his War Cabinet, with political rival Benny Gantz threatening to withdraw from the government if a postwar plan for Gaza, including an international administration, is not established by June 8. This would leave Netanyahu increasingly dependent on far-right allies who advocate for a full military occupation of Gaza and the reconstruction of Jewish settlements.

In the midst of this political turmoil, U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan met with Netanyahu to discuss a bold U.S. proposal. The plan involves Saudi Arabia recognizing Israel and assisting the Palestinian Authority in governing Gaza, in exchange for a pathway to eventual statehood. However, Netanyahu remains opposed to Palestinian statehood, insisting on maintaining indefinite security control over Gaza.

Meanwhile, the humanitarian situation in Gaza continues to deteriorate. The airstrike in Nuseirat has added to the already high casualty count, with the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in nearby Deir al-Balah receiving the bodies. The hospital, along with other medical facilities in the region, is struggling to cope with the influx of wounded individuals.

The airstrike on the school is not an isolated incident. In recent months, there have been reports of multiple attacks on schools serving as shelters, resulting in the death of many displaced Palestinians.

As the conflict enters its eighth month, the international community watches with growing concern. The recognition of Palestine as a state has become a contentious issue in the European elections, and countries like Spain, Ireland, and Norway have shown symbolic support for Palestine. However, the majority of Europe continues to support Israel.

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