GENEVA / GAZA DEMONSTRATION APPEAL OCHA

29-Mar-2019 00:03:13
Hours from potentially massive demonstrations and an escalation of violence in the Gaza Strip against Israel, the UN’s top humanitarian official in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT), Jamie McGoldrick, today called for calm from all sides to prevent further bloodshed. UNTV CH
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STORY: GENEVA / GAZA DEMONSTRATION APPEAL OCHA
TRT: 3:13
SOURCE: UNTV CH
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 29 MARCH 2019 GENEVA, SWITZERLAND
SHOTLIST
1. Wide shot, exterior Palais des Nations
2. Wide shot: Press Room III.
3. SOUNDBITE (English) Jens Laerke, spokesperson, Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA):
“On the eve of the one-year anniversary, the humanitarian coordinator in OPT, Jamie McGoldrick said that the priority now is to save lives and everyone needs to take action accordingly. Israeli security forces must ensure that their responses are in line with the international legal obligations using non-violent means to the greatest extent possible. Hamas authorities must prevent acts of violence that compromise the peaceful nature of the demonstrations and everyone must ensure that children are not put in harm’s way.”
4. Close up, journalist
5. SOUNDBITE (English) Jens Laerke, spokesperson, Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA):
“Demonstrations today have extraordinarily been cancelled with the expectation and the call for demonstrations tomorrow, to a large scale, that’s what we expect. Indeed, the reason why the humanitarian coordinator is issuing this today, is exactly, precisely because of his and our- the entire humanitarian community’s concern that we would see another tragic day tomorrow and everything and everybody must do everything possible to avoid that.”
6. Wide shot: journalists.
7. SOUNDBITE (English) Jens Laerke, spokesperson, Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA):
“In this past year, there has been a staggering loss of life and injury in the Gaza Strip. 195 Palestinians, including some 40 children, have been killed by Israeli security forces mainly during the weekly protests near the perimeter fence.”
8. Med shot, journalist
9. SOUNDBITE (English) Jens Laerke, spokesperson, Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA):
“Nearly 29,000 Palestinians have been injured, including over 7,000 people by live ammunition. Three clearly-marked health workers providing care to the wounded during demonstrations have been killed and over 630 others injured. As a result of the demonstrations, one member of the Israeli security forces was killed, and six others have been injured.”
10. Med shot, podium
11. SOUNDBITE (English) Jens Laerke, spokesperson, Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA):
“The many Palestinian casualties including trauma injuries and more than 120 limb amputations, has overwhelmed the Gaza health system, which was already challenged by chronic power outages, shortages of essential medicines and supplies, and gaps in critical services, including mental health and psychosocial support.”
12. Med shot, journalists.
13. SOUNDBITE (English) Jens Laerke, spokesperson, Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA):
“We are issuing, I would say, a stark reminder to everyone involved in this, that the protection of lives - not least of children - must be at the top of everyone’s agenda during what we would expect to be big demonstrations tomorrow.”
14. Various shots, journalists
STORYLINE
Hours from potentially massive demonstrations and an escalation of violence in the Gaza Strip against Israel, the UN’s top humanitarian official in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT), Jamie McGoldrick today (29 Mar) called for calm from all sides to prevent further bloodshed.

During weekly rallies last year - referred to as the “Great March of Return and the Breaking of the Siege” – a UN panel reporting to the Human Rights Council found that 189 Palestinians were killed in 2018; 183 with live ammunition.

The development follows this week’s rocket and airstrike exchanges between Gaza and Israel that United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Nickolay Mladenov, said had “shown us how precipitously close we are to the brink of war.”

Speaking in Geneva today on behalf of McGoldrick, Jens Laerke from the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said, “on the eve of the one-year anniversary, the humanitarian coordinator in the OPT (Occupied Palestinian Territories), Jamie McGoldrick said that the priority now is to save lives and everyone needs to take action accordingly.”

Laerke added that Israeli military “must ensure that their responses are in line with the international legal obligations using non-violent means to the greatest extent possible”, while the de facto Hamas authorities “must prevent acts of violence that compromise the peaceful nature of the demonstrations and everyone must ensure that children are not put in harm’s way.”

Concerns surrounding what might happen on Saturday (30 Mar) had been heightened by the news that the usual Friday protests had been postponed, Laerke explained.

He said, “demonstrations today have extraordinarily been cancelled with the expectation and the call for demonstrations tomorrow, to a large scale, that’s what we expect,” adding that “indeed, the reason why the humanitarian coordinator is issuing this today, is exactly, precisely because of his and our- the entire humanitarian community’s concern that we would see another tragic day tomorrow and everything and everybody must do everything possible to avoid that.”

Highlighting the heavy casualty toll associated with a year of protests, the OCHA spokesperson added, “in this past year, there has been a staggering loss of life and injury in the Gaza Strip: 195 Palestinians, including some 40 children, have been killed by Israeli security forces mainly during the weekly protests near the perimeter fence.”

He said that “nearly 29,000 Palestinians have been injured, including over 7,000 people by live ammunition. Three clearly-marked health workers providing care to the wounded during demonstrations have been killed and over 630 others injured. As a result of the demonstrations, one member of the Israeli security forces was killed, and six others have been injured.”

Amid longstanding shortages of basic goods and services in Gaza linked to a more than decade-long air, sea and land blockade, Laerke underlined the impact of the violence on already overstretched health system.

He said, “the many Palestinian casualties including trauma injuries and more than 120 limb amputations, has overwhelmed the Gaza health system, which was already challenged by chronic power outages, shortages of essential medicines and supplies, and gaps in critical services, including mental health and psychosocial support.”

In comments to journalists in Geneva, Laerke insisted that “We are issuing, I would say, a stark reminder to everyone involved in this, that the protection of lives - not least of children - must be at the top of everyone’s agenda during what we would expect to be big demonstrations tomorrow.”

His comments echoed a warning earlier this week by UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Nickolay Mladenov, that there might be another very dangerous escalation of violence in Gaza, with potentially catastrophic consequences.

In comments to the UN Security Council on Tuesday (26 Mar), Mladenov lamented the launch of at least 104 rockets and mortars from the Gaza Strip towards Israel in recent days, one of which struck a house in central Israel, injuring seven people, including three children.

In response, Israeli forces carried out dozens of air strikes on various locations in Gaza, Mladenov said, noting that local sources indicated that seven Palestinians were injured, several buildings were destroyed, including offices of the Hamas extremist group which controls Gaza.

Insisting that nobody had an interest in a full military confrontation in Gaza, the UN official explained to the 15-member body in New York the that his team had been working intensely with Egypt and all concerned parties to ensure that the situation does not spiral out of control.
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