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Italian aid workers call on media to pay more attention to Gaza assault

Employees of six Italian humanitarian aid organisations that operate in the Gaza Strip have issued an open letter urging the media to give more attention to developments in Gaza and pleading for an intervention to secure an immediate halt to the military operations.

"Let's stop believing that a soccer game is more important than civilians who are being bombed. Let's stop acting as if we are not seeing what is going on [in Gaza]," the letter read.

The letter criticised the Italian media for accusing Gaza's people collectively of terror and for adopting the policy of "keeping an equal distance from all sides" and "equal condemnations and balanced words" in an unequal conflict. It also criticised journalists who cover Gaza while sitting "comfortably at home or at editorial offices in Rome or Milan".

"We cannot stay silent about a non-discriminatory military attack on a population under siege, economically and physically squeezed, held in an open air prison with no shelter or place to escape," the letter read.

"We cannot act as if nothing has happened. We know Gaza because we work and live there and we have known what suffering means – and also what resistance means."

"Gaza has simply taught us the meaning of human dignity. Here in Gaza we feel helpless. We feel astonished once we read Italian newspapers, which we believe do not reflect reality," the letter added.

The letter concluded by urging relevant decision makers to be mediators asking for the military operations to be halted immediately and for the siege imposed on Gaza to be lifted.

"Operation Protective Edge", launched by Israel last week, has continued for eight consecutive days, ostensibly in response to "rockets launched from Gaza on Israel." The operation has so far resulted in the death of 192 Palestinians and the injury of about 1,400, including some with serious injuries, according to Palestinian medical sources.

Since the Israeli military operation against Gaza started, Hamas and the Islamic Jihad movement in Gaza have claimed responsibility for launching hundreds of rockets towards Israel. Rockets launched from Gaza have resulted in minor injuries, but caused widespread fear among Israelis, according to Israeli army and police statements. Tel Aviv also announced that its Iron Dome missile defence system had intercepted a number of the rockets.

Report by Mahmoud Al-Kilani, Anadolu News Agency

Note: This page was updated at 12.54 BST on July 17, 2014 to clarify that it was the employees of NGOs who made the statement.


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