30 Jul 2014

Inside the Gaza UN school ‘shelled by Israel’

I’ve just been to the UNRWA school in Jabalia, where 15 people were killed by what appears to be an Israeli shell as they were sheltering in a classroom.

#AskMason: send @paulmasonnews your questions on Gaza

The school is a refugee centre for people displaced from the area between here and the border maybe 2km away, which is a battlefield. Four shells hit the camp: it is bracketed within the area of the four impacts.


Tanks or artillery guns can hit anything they want to, accurately, so it’s hard not to conclude that the tank was firing at the camp, or that the Israelis miscalculated.

Read more: Gaza live – UN school suffers deadly shelling

Either way I saw the results in the Jabalia hospital. A 15-year-old boy lies with his right leg in plaster but the chief nurse has already told me it is going to be amputated.

“I was hiding in a classroom and the shell hit,” he tells me.

While we are there, more casualties arrive. In a white shroud, Odai Ijneed, 18, is ferried chaotically from ambulance to the morgue. His dad leans in to kiss him before he’s slammed into the metal cupboard.

The Israelis shelled the market, he says, Odai was visiting his grandma there. I tell him I’m sorry.

“Don’t be sorry,” he says. “Why don’t you just go back to Britain and tell your government to stop supporting the Israelis when they kill our kids?”

All modern military systems work off precise co-ordinates. UNWRA say they have given the precise co-ordinates of the school to the Israelis, whose tanks fire on the dead ground just inside the border.

Read more: what it feels like to be under Israeli fire

When politicians (Ed Miliband opposes Israeli action) say their support for Israel is unshakeable, it can be translated on the ground into less of an imperative to avoid the military carelessness that I have seen this morning. They will be told “we don’t target civilians”.


This is nonsense: the operation against Jabalia is killing civilians, and as far as I can see the military front line is exactly the same as when I crossed it, on Sunday. The only way I can see to avoid killing civilians is to stop shelling Jabalia.

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52 reader comments

  1. John Roberts says:

    I am not a politician. I am not a soldier. I am a teacher. I know little about warfare, but I know a lot about children. I fear for the children in Gaza. Children who rely on adults to direct them to safe places like empty beaches, hospitals and UN schools. Clearly nowhere in Gaza is safe for children.
    How ironic that the perpetrators of this horror were once themselves the victims of hatred and pain and despair, were once herded into ghettos and bombed, were once facing a future with no hope.
    All children deserve a future. They deserve safety. They deserve life. They deserve hope. If Israel denies the children of Gaza these things then Israel has learned nothing about the pain that their own children have suffered.

    1. Conchita says:

      Bob Dylan, author of Neighborhood Bully, also wrote in another parable this ironic lyric:

      Some people on the road carrying everything that they own
      Some people on the road carrying everything that they own
      Some people got barely enough skin to cover their bones

      Read more: http://www.bobdylan.com/us/songs/levees-gonna-break#ixzz38yzqZLOS

      There’s ambiguity in the COMMENTS POLICY about what links are allowed even though the REPLY function asks for ‘website’. Also replies on Snow blog contains many URLs.

    2. richard says:

      You speak like a parent, you speak for me. No child deserves the trauma that Israel & Hamas are exposing the children of Gaza to. your god & my God is watching and will deal for the kids.

  2. hamza Ibrahim says:

    Shame to the UK and the world, innocent children dying and we are simply just watching, Mr Cameron interviened Gadafi but not a simple message to Israel, why?

  3. zaid says:

    Its unbelievable! I just cannot get my head round how the world allows this to happen, the likes of Cameron and Obama are implicit in this. Before anyone says Israel is responding to Hama attacks and they will stop when the rockets stop landing on them they need to get real, Israel must allow Palestinians to live like humans and give them their freedom and independence. Before anyone says this all started with the abduction and murder of three Israeli teenagers, I would say – in May two Palestinians teenagers were shot dead by the IDF


    they were simply protesting without any violence but this of course does not get wide spread media attention because firstly they are Palestinians and they don’t count and secondly the media on the whole are backed by Zionists.
    This violence will not stop until Israel allows the Palestinians to live like human beings and may I add apologise and compensate them for the last 60 years of violence they have had to endure.
    Zionism by its definition is racist.

  4. L Bloom says:

    Paul Mason makes a very good point. The IDF was given the co-ordinates of the school by the UN seventeen times. If the Israelis were responding to alleged Hamas fire from ‘near’ the school, there are only three possibilities for why they missed the Hamas target and hit the school instead.
    Either their equipment is doesn’t work properly, or their soldiers can’t shoot straight, or they deliberately fired on the school. That’s it. There is no other explanation.
    Either way, it’s a war crime and Israel is responsible.
    Please put those points to the next Israeli spokesman who gets wheeled out to defend the action or cast doubt on the eyewitness evidence.
    Thank you.

    1. Jb says:

      L Bloom – good points that bear repeating again and again until the world really starts waking up to the unspeakable horrors of this ‘military action’. The infrastructure of this land is being systemically destroyed whilst its people are dying day by day.

  5. Mark Readman says:

    Thanks Paul for your report, it seems to me that channel 4 is the only one prepares to speak the truth about this conflict and to ask the question of “Why aren’t we doing something about this?”.

    Our politicians are turning a blind eye, ignoring it and keeping quiet.

    Please keep up the good work there are not enough people speaking out about this, it must be stopped.

  6. ben p says:

    .. good report.. it’s heartbreaking but this must be reported, no thanks to the impotent media agencies which are unduly influenced by Israeli lobbies… thank God someone is reporting truthfully

  7. RAHAT says:

    I really appreciate your coverage on GAZA. Hopefully you will do the same thing in future as well not like BBC who are trying to justify by taking comments only from one side.


  8. bernie says:

    YOU wil pay a high price for this one day. You can not hide this in todays digital world. you are a hatefigure amongst new generation already after what you have chosen to do in last 20 days They wil get you one day . I have seen fire in young eyes of even young people for you.

  9. Sam says:

    Hello Palestine
    I am so sorry that you have to go through this hard time. The west and the real terrorist has closed their ears and eyes so they could allow evil to destroy human life in the name of defending themselves. There is not mercy from anyone but God. No one feels the pain of what you going through they closed their eyes and don’t hear anything and they say its normal life for them because they do not deserve to be treated like human. If you for once put yourself in that position to be alive but yet prison of your own home than you would do whatever to break that cage and fly away. Do you feel the pain of those family those mothers those fathers those brothers, sisters that they lose their love ones? I guess you don’t because you have never been raised around family and you don’t know your own immediate family. Shame on those Arab countries that they support evil, Shame on Canada and the PM for representing Canada like that. Shame on Obama for supporting Evil. I use to think you were a smart President but I was wrong. Finally Sorry Gaza no one cares what you feel or go through and because we are blind and deaf. The only thing I could do is to cry every night for those innocent lives. I have never felt helpless like this.

  10. Joe Fitzgerald says:

    Although Channel 4 ‘ s coverage of Gaza has been thorough and to a great extent courageous, more searching and direct questioning of our own politicians may go a long way to exposing their obvious fear of criticising Israel and informing the electorate why such fear should exist. Calling for sanctions against Russia and Syria sound very hollow when this terrible outrage is allowed to continue.

  11. bridget watters says:

    Many people in Britain are appalled by the Israeli action in Gaza and are sickened by smooth talking Israeli spokesmen who seem to take no responsibility for their actions.

    1. Caroline says:

      I completely agree with you, they have such smooth talking Israeli spokes people.

  12. SteveHG says:

    “IDF’s Gaza assault is to control Palestinian gas, avert Israeli energy crisis
    Israel’s defence minister has confirmed that military plans to ‘uproot Hamas’ are about dominating Gaza’s gas reserves”


    I am concerned that this aspect of the current atrocities in Gaza is not being covered by the media.

    Israel pull out of Gaza in 2005 and massive reserves of gas are discovered off the coast of Gaza in 2010 and now Israel seem determined to make Gaza uninhabitable, is this really just a co-incidence

  13. ed says:

    The only thing worse than terrorism is institutional terrorism, be it extraordinary rendition or the bulldozing and bombing of civilian communities. Seems to me that sadly the world we have created based on economy and religion has little room for basic humanity, feeling angered and helpless

  14. jules says:

    words fail me how the world is allowing this to happen, I feel ashamed, the politicians have turned their back on humanity, its utterly shocking and heart breaking, thank you Channel 4 for your honest reporting

  15. James Freeman says:

    & The Israeli PR machines keeps rolling……The world looks on as over 300 children die. & the leader of the free world……Israel must be secure (on the bones of women and children). We as a world are disgusted. You have an iron dome. How many more orphans must be created. Channel 4 are HEROS with the BBC a complete DISGRACE!

  16. S Mughal says:

    At least there is one UK news channel which is giving a true picture of horrible sufferings in Gaza. Keep up the good work channel 4.

  17. SC says:

    Thanks Channel 4 and its reporters for bringing us the truth from Gaza whilst others just repeat Israeli lies and propaganda and isnult our intelligence.

  18. David says:

    What about blood thirsty Hamas who started this war they hide behind civilians
    Israel is doing the right thing they will achive what they want
    We all support Israel

  19. Esther says:

    I know that is almost impossible for the other commenters on here to understand, but for Hamas, this is a religious war, a Jihad, and for themselves, to quote, they “embrace death” because through the manner of death by fighting Jews and reclaiming holy sites for Islam, their operatives will go to paradise. So, for Hamas, but not so much the very unfortunate civilian Gazans whose homes below which they are bunkered, mass carnage is regarded as an acceptable price to pay for its war aims.

    The original interview with the head of UNWRA in Gaza codemned the IDF fot this attack and then went on to condemn Hamas for firing over 3,000 unguided rockets at Israeli population centres. Later media repeats of that interview have dropped that latter section of his angry diatribe.

    Hamas wanted this. Israel never wanted it.

  20. Russell Brown says:

    Hi Paul, why dont you start Armegeddon by implying Israel kill civilians on purpose, that would be great? We can all die then?

    “In those days and at that time,
    when I restore the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem,
    2 I will gather all nations
    and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat.[b]
    There I will put them on trial
    for what they did to my inheritance, my people Israel,
    because they scattered my people among the nations
    and divided up my land.

  21. Caroline says:

    Well done Channel 4 for reporting as much as is possible from both sides of the story. However as much as you plead with either side, there will be no peace until the Palestinians are free, end of story.

  22. Philip Smith-Lawrence says:

    It is about time that people had their digital voice heard. You can by following the link below. Each LIKE = you as a human being telling the world leaders to step in and stop the killing of innocent children.


  23. Stephen says:

    Two days ago Hamas murdered twenty Palestinians for taking part in a peace rally in Gaza which called for rocket attacks on Israel to stop. Channel 4 seems to have missed that massacre……

    1. zaid says:

      And where did u get that information from

  24. Bruce Carr says:

    Well done Paul Mason. Just saw your piece on C4 news. Thank you for having the courage to tell it how it is.

  25. Nazim says:

    First of all I’d like to thank Channel 4 for being the only British channel to cover the Gaza war without being Biased and showing the true suffering of the Palestinian people and the true hatred that the Israelis have for Palestinian people.

    I’d like to thank John Snow for constantly questioning the Israeli representatives every day and leaving them speechless.

    What I would like to see is John Snow to interview an MP either a conservative, Labour or Liberal democrat and ask them straight why are they standing back and watching thousands of innocent children, women, elderly and civilian men being slaughtered every single day?

  26. steven wilson says:

    Paul, your report on ch4 news ended with much needed emotion. You expose the insanity of the Israeli strikes against schools and hospitals and indicate how easy it will be to analyse the data and discover who did this and why. In reply to the man in your blog – you must stay and continue to witness these war crimes so that our government and others cannot ignore what is happening. Keep safe. You and other reporters on Channel 4 bring necessary clarity and feeling to news from Gaza and other regions wrapping us up in complexities which we cannot ignore.

  27. Conchita says:

    Paul Mason: nice change from Snow’s booming hectoring. But with the Bolton diction, even though I’m very familiar with northern accents, even relistening on C4+1 I still couldn’t get catch this:

    ‘If youre going to fire, st?? at it, this is what is going to happen.’

    Was the word ‘step’? Step at it? If so, still sounds odd both contextually and in terms of diction. Also the following (translation), as per your piece above, is not the same as on the news tonight:

    “Don’t be sorry,” he says. “Why don’t you just go back to Britain and tell your government to stop supporting the Israelis when they kill our kids?”

  28. Andrea says:

    Where does power lie?Why has the BBC reporting of this issue been so terrible and one-sided? I like many others have been very impressed with the way in which the actions of the Israel have been bought into question by Channel 4. Please keep the voices of the innocent alive. These Children deserve the right to grow up in peace in their own Country. These children deserve the right basic right to water and food. So much pain has been caused over the years and yes we as a can do something about it, we can boycott those companies who support Israel. I hope that one day we all get an opportunity to say sorry for not intervening sooner that’s based upon an assumption that eventually we will intervene, which we won’t because….where does the power lie?

  29. Gill Jacobs says:

    The Israelis say they have no choice but to continue until their objectives are reached. There is another option, though. They have to give up something in order to live together with the Palestinians as neighbours and as citizens. This does not seem to be on the agenda, because ‘democracy’ dictates that politicians have to take account of the political will from the majority, and that will is simply to destroy in the name of ‘survival’, not negotiation, where they have to move to accede rather than maintain the status quo. Brave politicians are nowhere to be seen, and meanwhile the Israelis live in a bubble of ‘misunderstanding’ from the outside world. And democracy in the US involves supporting this massacre with aid to their ‘friends’ the Israelis, simply because votes back home are tied to continued support. This is madness, with only one victim, the Palestinians. Its hard when you have been the victim in the past to recognise the transformation to oppressor. But from the outside that is how the Israelis seem to be. What will stop them? Pulling the plug on money for arms! And negotiation which recognises that to move forward they have to give up something, not fight to maintain what they have taken and fought to be theirs.

  30. Adam says:

    So the Israeli defenders haven’t started to comment yet, telling us to imagine this and imagine that

  31. Ronald Phillips says:

    Israeli Citizens build bomb shelters under their homes, to protect their families and each other.

    Before the present conflict, and probably even now, people cross into Israel, from Gaza everyday to receive Medical Treatment not available in Gaza.

    Hamas build tunnels under Palestinian homes, to store bombs and infiltrate Israel.

    Hamas use Palestinians and Children as human shields.

    Hamas blew up their own power station earlier in the week then claimed it was a rocket fired from Israel.

    Even Egypt, and other Arab States are not defending Hamas Gaza as they know what is the truth.

    For their own means, Hamas don’t care two hoots if all Palestinians, whether they be young or old, are killed in this conflict.

    They are nothing more than terroists.

    1. Miss Castello says:

      “terroists”? You can’t even spell it, let alone define it. Nelson Mandela was called a ‘Terrorist’ long before he was awarded the Nobel peace prize. His name was only removed from the ‘Terrorist’ list a few years ago. People living under a brutal, illegal, immoral OCCUPATION for as long as the Palestinians have are fully within their rights to fight back by any means possible. I.e. Law of Belligerent Occupation; Article 51, UN Charter; 4th Geneva Convention; ratified 1965, 20th session. If resisting a bunch of obnoxious thugs calling themselves soldiers makes people ‘Terrorists’, count me in. If you REALLY want to ‘Talk ‘Terrorist’ – look no further than fake state israel, who was spawned from it; The Irgun, Stern Gang, (Livni’s parents, King David Hotel Massacre) for starters. All on record and plenty more where that came from. SO, Ronald, take your ‘terroists’ bulls*t and shove it.

  32. Ann says:

    I am so angry with the UK government, not one politician will stand up and voice the disgust at what is happening in Gaza on a daily basis, Israel should hang its head in shame.

  33. Seymour Alexander says:

    I would close down the cowardly BBC and give the licence fee to Channel 4 who deserve it. And I’d make sure that those BBC management stooges didn’t walk off with vast sums by way of ‘compensation’ and pensions etc etc

  34. Ruhina says:

    I think channel 4 is only channel showing true coverage unlike like bbc who should be shamed .Normal human being will understand that killing small children is wrong but this selfish Israeli will not .. Stop killing innocent children

  35. Raffers says:

    This might explain why our politicians are silent.
    Dispatches – Israel lobby group working within Parliament http://youtu.be/0E70BwA7xgU

  36. Dr Pamela Jane Smith says:

    Thank you Paul Mason for your courage and your clear reporting.

  37. Imran says:

    Thank you so much for reporting the truth channel 4, I really appreciate your hard work and efforts. Unlike bbc and the rest of the isreal supporting channels. You have been asking the right questions and i personally thank Mr Snow for all is hard work and honesty. What i don’t understand is why is isreal calling hamas a terrorist group and calling they brutal attackers the isreal defence army. Who has killed the civilians here. Shame on the UK PM and the spokesperson for america sorry the so called president who is not allowed to lift his own finger without the isreal leaders who are running their country behind closed doors. The same shame goes to saud arabia who only can see dollers in their eyes these days and not human life. The only think i as a british muslim can do for this brutal lollings is to pray to my allah to rescue those palestines in gaza.

  38. Alison says:

    Thanks Paul and the rest of the team, for your brave and honest reporting. It must be a harrowing experience for you let alone for the Palestinian people. When will western leaders open their eyes and recognise the monster they have created. Are they now terrified of the monster themselves? Sadly our own democracy has much to answer for but this should not be used as an excuse to allow Israel to continue its barbaric, completely unjustified brutality and inhumanity. This is not defence. If they had treated the Palestinians as human beings all along the rockets would not be coming their way. If the current Israeli onslaught is considered a reasonable response to Hamas’s rockets, what sort of response would they have envisaged if they were experiencing the cruel treatment and conditions the Palestinians have suffered for decades?

  39. Cindy Novak says:

    How do you explain Italian journalist Gabriel Ebarbati’s tweet:

    gabrielebarbati @gabrielebarbati · Jul 29

    Out of #Gaza far from #Hamas retaliation: misfired rocket killed children yday in Shati. Witness: militants rushed and cleared debris

  40. SAM says:

    i appreciate ur channel for reporting such news.BBC is only barking,plz dont become like a BBC/CNN. all world closing their eyes.o Israel stop bombing over Gaza,

  41. james says:

    i appreciate ur coverage,reporter./channel.where is the world ,british,ameriaca,Russia ,chaina.
    o israel stop air strikes over Gaza.there is jungle law in the world,UN IS CLOSING HIS EYES?shameful for all

  42. Malcolm says:

    Dear Chanel 4.

    Why have you decided not to publish any of my comments lately.
    My heart bleeds for the people of Palestine. Exposing the lies of Isrealis pretending to be the victims is the only way I can help. So please allow my comments.

    Thank you


  43. Cliff says:

    Hamas wants war Hamas has war, war is terrible Hamas knows that, Hamas is on its last legs and is sacrificing the Arabs of Gaza for their cause, the pornocracy of death is being presented to us on an hourly basis. This is Hamas strategy and they know it furthers journalistic careers, These journalists are not that interested in saving the Arabs, no heart bleeding for the 170,000 dead Syrians. This war against jihad is going on all over the Middle East, Asia, and central Africa and will soon be here in Europe if it is not defeated, if you look at Paris you might think it is already here. You may also notice the complete silence from the Arab governments who art supporting Israel by this action, only Turkey and Qatar and Iran are supporting Jihad.
    Ban ki-moon has condemned the Israel for the horrendous incident in which 16 have died. He has made no mention of the Jihadists of Hamas drawing fire, purposely drawing fire to the school by attacking Israeli soldiers from the school. It is apparently OK for Hamas to do this as no one seems to think this is of any relevance. Hamas draws fire to civilians for their propaganda machine of blood and gore pornocracy.
    The people of Nazi Germany elected the Hitler and the Nazis knowing what they intended to do, the people of Germany suffered terribly because of this when they were eventually defeated. The Arabs of Gaza voted Hamas into power knowing that/because they promised to destroy Israel and kill the Jews, this is extreme Islamic doctrine, they thought they would be able to join in the spoils of war. The Gazan Arabs like the people of Nazi Germany made one big mistake and Hamas will be defeated.

  44. caroline says:

    The World so very conveniently forgets about Palestine when it wants to.This ‘war’ will never end until the Palestinians have their freedom and their land. I remember the 70s when the PLO were also branded a terrorist organisation, and indeed I remember the airplane hijackings etc. but until the World wakes up and recognises the plight of Palestinians, they have no choice but to try to make the World listen by any means.

  45. michael says:

    It makes you wonder where all the bleeding hearts above were when the Filth of the Arab world were Firing rockets at woman and children in Israel Evert Day. If Hamas was wiped out today the Biggest Cheer would come from the Arab world,before making smart comments about Israel defending its self, Think what We Or the government We Elect would do in the same situation, These stone age savages are being funded by someone,, Go After Them..

    1. cairokid says:

      The Israelis continue to harp on about Hamas being a terrorist organisation. Yes, it is, but so was Irgun. Menachim Begin was a terrorist, so they are in no position to criticise.

      One man’s terrorist is another’s freedom fighter. Instead of blaming Hamas we should look at WHY Palestine feels the need to turn to an organisation like this. It’s because they can see no other way to get their freedom from Israeli oppression.

      I don’t blame Israelis, who are fed myths and misinformation all their lives, but I think the free world is finally waking up, looking at history, and working out who are the real victims here. And it isn’t Israel, no matter how they like to paint themselves that way.

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