Palestinians protest outside offices of UN agency in Beirut in solidarity with residents of Gaza Str

(18 Apr 2024)

Beirut, Lebanon – 18 April 2024
1. Various of protesters waving Palestinians flags in a street leading to the headquarters of UNRWA, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East
2. SOUNDBITE (Arabic) Najat Dawood, protester:
"We are here to stand in solidarity with our people. Those who are dying in Gaza are our children, our blood, and it is our dignity. UNRWA writes one thing on its pages and applies another. They are witnessing what is happening in Gaza, the killing of children and women. All the rights the world talks about have turned out to be fake."
3. Protesters waving Palestinians flag
4. U.N. flag on top of UNRWA building
5. Various of protesters waving Palestinians flags
6. SOUNDBITE (Arabic) Muhammad Samih Ahmed, protester:
"Today, the number of martyrs in Gaza has reached 33,500 and the number of wounded has reached 77,000. We are facing this war – the genocide that is happening to our people in Gaza, and facing the war of starvation, yet the UNRWA administration tells us: ‘You are prohibited from supporting the people of Gaza. You are prohibited from saying any word about Gaza.’ Why? Because we (at UNRWA) have a law called neutrality, and therefore you must remain neutral. What neutrality are you talking about when our people are dying of hunger in Gaza?"
7. Various of protesters waving Palestinians flags in a street leading to UNRWA building
Hundreds of Palestinians protested on Thursday outside the offices of the U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees in Beirut, expressing solidarity with Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

Waving Palestinians flags, the crowd chanted in support of those in Gaza and some held up banners and signs.

"We are here to stand in solidarity with our people. Those who are dying in Gaza are our children," said protester Najat Dawood.

The war, now in its seventh month, has killed more than 33,800 Palestinians, mostly women and children, according to local health authorities.

Israeli authorities say 1,200 people, mostly civilians, were killed and roughly 250 people taken hostage in Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack.

The war in the Gaza Strip has unleashed a humanitarian catastrophe and sparked global concern over the situation in Rafah, Gaza’s southernmost town, where 1.4 million Palestinians have sought safety from Israel’s daily bombardments.

There is a "war of starvation" going on in the Gaza Strip, said Muhammad Samih Ahmed, another protester.

UNRWA is the biggest aid provider in Gaza, where Israel’s war against Hamas has displaced the vast majority of the population within the besieged territory and plunged it into a humanitarian catastrophe.

The head of UNRWA urged the Security Council on Wednesday to ensure its survival as Israel again demanded its dissolution, accusing the agency of becoming part of Hamas’ “terror war machine.”

Philippe Lazzarini told the council that dismantling UNRWA would deepen Gaza’s humanitarian crisis and speed up the onset of famine.

International experts have warned of imminent famine in northern Gaza and said half the territory’s 2.3 million people could be pushed to the brink of starvation if the six-month Israeli-Hamas war intensifies.

AP video shot by Fadi Tawil


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