The International Journal of Migration and Border Studies (IJMBS) is pleased to announce a call for papers for its third issue in 2015.

scoverijmbsIJMBS aims to bring together a diverse range of scholars and practitioners to advance knowledge and improve practice and methodologies in a broad range of issued related to migration and borders studies. Broadly speaking, it seeks to provide different perspectives to its readership ranging from exclusion to integration of permanent, temporary and irregular migrants as well as asylum seekers. Articles covering a large spectrum of topics addressing the development of international, transnational and national immigration policies viewed in a broad sense are welcome. What could be the best practices regarding inclusion? Which measures have exclusionary effects? Some examples of themes this journal intends to cover are listed below.

Subject Coverage

Broad themes on which articles are sought include but are not limited to:

  • Innovations in institutional, procedural and social arrangements to deal with border security and immigration policy
  • Personal information databases and exchanges
  • Measures to restrict access to asylum
  • The coherence and coordination between various actors dealing with issues such as health, education, social welfare, employment and law enforcement in the migration context
  • Causes and consequences (economic, social, political, environmental, etc.) of migration and their legal and policy implications
  • Local, regional and international mechanisms and logics that transform political and media discourses norms, policies and practices related to migration and border studies
  • Development of new priorities for immigration programmes
  • The role of gender, age, social status, ability, race and other factors in curtailing border and immigration policies
  • Indigenous rights and claims and border and migration studies

IJMBS is a peer-reviewed journal which offers a forum for disciplinary and inter-disciplinary research concerning conceptual, theoretical, empirical and methodological dimensions related to key concepts that underpin them: borders, immigration and integration policies, humanitarianism, sovereignty, states, citizenship, etc. Such critical analysis contributes to a better understanding of current challenges from different disciplinary perspectives including law, sociology, anthropology, social policy and social welfare, criminology, political economy, political science and public politics.

The journal invites submissions from both emerging and established scholars, including graduate students, post- graduates, professors and practitioners from around the globe, with the objective of ensuring that a plurality of experiences and perspectives is represented.

Notes for Prospective Authors

Submitted papers should not have been previously published nor be currently under consideration for publication elsewhere. (N.B. Conference papers may only be submitted if the paper has been completely re-written and if appropriate written permissions have been obtained from any copyright holders of the original paper).

All papers are refereed through a peer review process.

All papers must be submitted online. Please read our information on preparing and submitting articles.

Important Date

Submission deadline: 31st January, 2015

factsOn Sunday Ashraq al-Awsat ran an article alleging that the United States had pressed both the Mubarak and Morsi regimes to surrender the Sinai so that it could be used to relocate Palestinian refugees and create a Palestinian state.

Cairo, Asharq Al-Awsat—Towards the end of his tenure, ousted Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak resisted pressures from Washington to cede Egyptian territory in the Sinai Peninsula to help create a Palestinian state, former senior members of Mubarak’s ruling party told Asharq Al-Awsat.

A former official from the National Democratic Party, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told Asharq Al-Awsat that during the previous decade Washington pushed Cairo to allow large numbers of Palestinians to settle in the Sinai.

The official said Mubarak believed the move was the first step in a process designed to get Egypt to cede its own territory to create a Palestinian state. Egypt’s former president resisted the appeals, which he described as being “in the best interest of Israel,” the senior official maintained.

During a meeting chaired by Mubarak in 2007, the official quoted the former Egyptian president as saying: “Our main enemy is Israel, but we are fighting both the US and Israel. There is pressure on us to open the Rafah crossing for the Palestinians and grant them freedom of residence, particularly in Sinai.”

Mubarak claimed that the aim of the plan was to establish refugee camps on Egyptian territory to accommodate as many Palestinians as possible.

“In a year or two, the issue of Palestinian refugee camps in Sinai will be internationalized. Meanwhile, Israel will impose pressures on the West Bank in order to force large numbers of Palestinians from Gaza into Egypt,” the source quoted Mubarak as saying.

Mubarak said that once the Palestinian refugees were on Egyptian soil the UN would have requested “a new Oslo [accord]” in order to establish a Palestinian state stretching from Gaza to Sinai to which Palestinians in diaspora would have been welcome to return.

But the former president opposed the plan, insisting that “Egypt would remain a thorn in the project’s side.”

The same proposal was put forward when the Muslim Brotherhood came to power in 2012, almost 18 months after the January 25 revolution that toppled Mubarak, a former security official told Asharq Al-Awsat.

Err, no—that  certainly didn’t happen. It is likely that the US pressed Egypt to relax restrictions at Rafah, and possibly even to treat Palestinian refugees better. The rest of it is one large fantasy. The only really interesting question is whether anyone in authority in Egypt ever believed it, or whether it is a more recent conspiracy theory born of the current levels of anti-American paranoia in the country (where many continue to believe that Obama is secretly supporting the Muslim Brotherhood).

IDF retracts claims mortar fired from UNRWA shelter

Posted: August 23, 2014 by Rex Brynen in Gaza, Israel, UNRWA

The IDF today initially claimed that a Hamas mortar round that killed an Israeli child was fired from an UNRWA shelter.

UNRWA strongly denied the claim:

…which was later retracted by the IDF.

The Commissioner-General of UNRWA later commented:

Humanitarian conditions in Gaza remain severe, with more than a quarter of a million people unable to return to damaged or destroyed homes. Most of these are crowded into UN schools serving as temporary emergency shelters.

UNRWA has also released a short video highlighting the devastation:

facts

The Jerusalem Post published an editorial yesterday critical of UNRWA for artificially keeping the Palestinian refugee issue alive by inflating the number of “real” refugees:

This becomes evident when we consider the different definitions for “refugee” to which UNHCR and UNRWA subscribe. UNHCR’s refugee is one who “owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted… is outside the country of his nationality.” By this definition, the refugee’s descendants are not refugees. Florida-born children of Cuban refugees are no longer considered homeless.

The only exceptions are the Palestinians. UNRWA classifies as refugees any Arabs, native or not, who sojourned “in Palestine between June 1946 and May 1948, and lost both their homes and means of livelihood as a result of the 1948 Arab-Israeli conflict.”

Not only could any itinerant foreign Arab laborer claim Palestinian refugee status, but UNRWA stipulates that the condition extends to “descendants of persons who became refugees in 1948.” One refugee parent suffices to inherit the distinction – even when the inheritor is not “outside the country of one’s nationality.”

By UNHCR’s yardstick, more than 97 percent of those whom UNRWA regards as refugees are nothing of the sort. In 1948, there were some 600,000 self-styled Palestine refugees. UNRWA now boasts that it cares for 5,000,000 people.

One again, the editorial repeats the canard that UNHCR would not consider the descendants of (stateless) Palestinian refugees as refugees. This is simply not true: for UNHCR, refugee status ends when refugees are able to avail themselves of the protection of another state, usually through acquiring citizenship. Refugees who are unable to do so maintain their status, and their children are considered to have “derivative status.”

All of this is made amply clear in UNHCR’s  Procedural Standards for Refugee Status Determination under UNHCR’s Mandate, Section 5.1.1 of which notes:

  • Family members/dependants of a recognized refugee may apply for derivative refugee status in accordance with their right to family unity.
  • Family members/dependants who are determined to fall within the criteria for refugee status in their own right should be granted refugee status rather than derivative refugee status.
  • Individuals who obtain derivative refugee status enjoy the same rights and entitlements as other recognized refugees, and should retain this status notwithstanding the subsequent dissolution of the family through separation, divorce, death, or the fact that a child reaches the age of majority.

UNHCRmandatePalestinians who have acquired citizenship elsewhere (as is the case with most in Jordan) would not be considered UNHCR refugees, but those in the West Bank, Gaza, Syria, Lebanon, as well as stateless refugees in Jordan and elsewhere, certainly would.

Having got its fundamental facts wrong, the Jerusalem Post goes one further with its bizarre comment that “Florida-born children of Cuban refugees are no longer considered homeless.” One assumes they mean refugees, not homeless, but the point is that Florida-born children of Cuban refugees are American citizens. The 2 million Palestinian refugees in the West Bank and Gaza are refugees because there is no Palestinian state—in other words, because of Israeli policy. Syria and Lebanon choose not to naturalize the hundreds of thousands of Palestinians resident there—which has nothing to do with UNRWA or its rules. Many of the former, of course, face new displacements as a consequence of civil war.

On a minor technical note, UNRWA’s refugee rules relate to service eligibility, which is somewhat different than UNHCR status determination. Also, UNHCR rules DO apply to Palestinians outside UNRWA’s fields of operation, but that error by the Jerusalem Post is rather secondary to its overall lack of comprehension of the refugee issue. Indeed, it is striking the extent to which this sort of misunderstanding continues, even though UNHCR procedures are easily accessible online. It is an perverse echo chamber effect of sorts, where loud and misinformed ideological positions drive out thoughtful and informed analysis if repeated often enough. Neither Israel nor Palestinian refugees nor the search for peace are well-served by any of this.

Finally, it is important to recognize that salience of the refugee issue in Palestinian political discourse has little relationship to UN rules, but is fundamentally rooted in the shared collective experience of dispossession and forced displacement. Jews maintained a yearning to “return” to their homeland for millennia in the diaspora, without an UNRWA or UNHCR. Why is it surprising that Palestinians do too, a mere 66 years after they too were driven into exile?

The IDF has released a series of maps and images depicting incidents where Hamas or Palestinian Islamic Jihad fighters allegedly fired from near (or, in one case, within) UNRWA facilities. According to the accompanying graph, this has occurred some 30 times during the conflict. It is not clear from the IDF presentation what the criteria for proximate fire is—much of urban Gaza, after all, is within 200m of some school or clinic—but the maps certainly show a few cases were launches were adjacent. These firings would represent a very small proportion (about 0.9%) of all rockets fired from Gaza during the conflict.

HamasUNRWA

There has been no suggestion from the IDF that the UN has willingly permitted such actions. UNRWA has no ability to stop what armed groups may do near its buildings or in unoccupied facilities.

During this same period, at least 44 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire at or near UN shelters. To date, nine UNRWA staff have also been killed during the fighting

Contrary to belief in some quarters, firing from and to civilian areas is permitted during combat under international humanitarian law. Indeed, it is characteristic of virtually all urban warfare. However, combatants are not supposed to do so in ways that put civilians at particular risk, and are clearly prohibited from using civilians to shield their activities. Under Article 8.2.b.xxiii of the Statutes of the International Criminal Court, “utilizing the presence of a civilian or other protected person to render certain points, areas or military forces immune from military operations” constitutes a war crime. Certainly some Hamas and PIJ rocket launches would appear to violate that requirement (quite apart from being a war crime because they are poorly aimed, and fired in the direction of Israeli towns and cities). The ICC currently has no jurisdiction over the occupied Palestinian territory, which would require either a reference by the United Nations Security Council or Palestinian accession to the Court. Israel is not an ICC signatory, nor is it party to the 1977 Additional Protocol to the Geneva Conventions relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts.

IHL recognizes that weapons will malfunction and mistakes will be made—warfare, after all, is a chaotic and messy business, in which troops do not always correctly identify targets (evidenced by the frequency with which they fire upon their own side). However commanders are required to take into consideration the precision and reliability of weapons when these are used in proximity to protected persons and sites.

Otherwise protected sites lose their IHL protection when used for military purposes. However, regardless of this, military action in urban areas is always limited by the fundamental requirement that it be discriminate and that the collateral damage inflicted on civilians be proportionate to the military advantage so gained. Firing an artillery barrage in the general vicinity of thousands of civilians and small handful of combatants, for example would likely not meet the IHL requirements for proportionality, nor would attacking a trio of PIJ militants on a motorcycle outside a crowded refugee shelter.

For other PRRN coverage of these issues, see:

Gaza’s mythical bags of UN “terror cement”

Posted: August 9, 2014 by Rex Brynen in factcheck, Gaza, Hamas, Israel
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One of the common features of politics in general, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in particular, is the way in which rumour and misinformation are constantly transmitted within incestuous circles of like-minded partisans until they becomes accepted as fact by those who want to believe. In the intelligence community the various elements of this vicious circle of inaccuracy are known as RUMINT (“rumour intelligence”), circular reporting (whereby stories gain apparently credibility as they circulate, ultimately being used to “confirm” their own veracity), and confirmation bias (when analysts prioritize information that fits their own preconceptions).

The refugee issue is no exception. We’ve already seen the case of the booby-trapped UNRWA clinic that turned out to not be an UNRWA clinic at all. Now, courtesy of the never-very-reliable Algemeiner, we have the accusation that bags of  “UNRWA cement” are being found in Hamas “terror tunnels”:

…the UN group also ignored one finding this week, where bags of cement marked UNRWA, the UN arm that manages schools and other institutions in Gaza, inside a terror tunnel.

It has also reported that “Hamas in Gaza is using UNRWA equipment to dig its longest tunnels under Israeli territory.” There is even a photo to prove the accusation (left). These claims have now been repeated on dozens of partisan websites, and circulated even more widely on social media.

Alleged "UNRWA bags of cement found in Gaza terror tunnels." via The Algemeiner, 30 July 2014.

Alleged “UNRWA bags of cement found in Gaza terror tunnels.” via The Algemeiner, 30 July 2014.There is even a photo to prove the accusation (left). This claim has now been repeated on dozens of partisan websites, and circulated even more widely on social media.

The problem, of course, is that the sacks in question are not bags of UN cement, nor did the IDF (who first circulated the picture) ever claim that they were. Rather, they are bags that once contained rice or flour, which someone has reused to carry dirt during tunnel construction. And what about the “UNRWA equipment”? Well, it turns out those are empty bags too.

With almost half the population of Gaza receiving some form supplementary or emergency food from UNRWA and WFP, these kinds of bags are ubiquitous in Gaza. As you might expect in a besieged economy, Gaza is also a place where pretty much everything is recycled.

There have been other efforts to somehow link UNRWA to Hamas tunnels. Some have suggested that the limited amounts of cement sent into Gaza for UN aid projects was diverted by Hamas. This is unlikely, however. Until 2013 up to 90% of Gaza’s cement supply came in from Egypt through smuggling tunnels, with the price dropping as low as $140/ton. Hamas’ requirements for the construction of military fortifications would have been only a small proportion of total imports into Gaza for civilian purposes and would have been easily purchased locally. Indeed, cement for UN projects was probably the least likely to be diverted since its importation and use was controlled and audited—a point apparently lost on critics.

The massive damage caused to Palestinian homes and other civilian infrastructure by Israeli military action during the current conflict will require substantial reconstruction efforts. As UNRWA spokesperson Chris Gunness has noted:

It will also require cement. And here the picture is now bleaker than ever.

Since 2013, the closure of tunnels by Egypt has made smuggling much more difficult, especially for high-bulk, low-cost items like cement. Israel has been alarmed by Hamas’ effective use of tunnels in the current conflict, and has indicated that it will link future cement supplies via Israel to the disarmament of Hamas. In doing so it will deliberately hold the civilian population hostage to the behaviour of combatants they cannot control. Hamas, for its part, will not voluntarily disarm, thereby also placing its military strategy ahead of the needs of Gaza’s people.

And, throughout all this, the myth of UN “terror cement” will live on in the partisan echo-chambers of the internet.

Israel and UNRWA

Posted: August 8, 2014 by Rex Brynen in Israel, UNRWA

 

Palestinian civilians and medics run to safety during an Israeli strike over a UN school in Beit Lahia, northern Gaza Strip early on January 17, 2009 . (AFP)

Palestinian civilians and medics run to safety during an Israeli strike over a UN school in Beit Lahia, northern Gaza Strip early on January 17, 2009 . (AFP)

Every time there is a new round of Israeli-Palestinian conflict, UNRWA is caught in the middle—both physically and politically. When the Agency criticizes certain Israeli practices—for example, attacks on its facilities— it comes under fire from certain self-appointed Israeli advocacy groups. When it does things Hamas doesn’t like—for example, its human rights curriculum or summer youth activities—it comes under direct and indirect criticism from Hamas-aligned groups too.

We see that again with the current conflict. In the Wall Street Journal, for example, one hysterical op-ed has labelled UNRWA the “handmaiden of Hamas,” calling it “one of the U.N.’s most perverse, destructive creations.”

In this climate of political polarization, where thoughtful commentary is driven out by fear, loathing, and misinformation, the Jewish Daily Forward offers a more thoughtful and nuanced take on the Israeli-UNRWA relationship:

The rumor spread quickly on news websites and social media during the third week of the recent Gaza war: Three Israeli soldiers had been killed when, according to the report, they discovered a booby-trapped Hamas tunnel right under a medical facility run by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency.

It could have been a devastating blow for the already beleaguered international agency, had it been true.

But it was the Israel Defense Forces that stepped in to stop the rumor and deny its veracity. An officer on the ground even called up UNRWA headquarters to alert the agency to the claims and to ensure that its officials were prepared to respond.

That might seem counterintuitive at first sight. UNRWA and the IDF have just gone through the toughest stretch in their relationship. During the days of fighting, Israeli forces broke with international rules and bombed UNRWA buildings time and again, killing dozens of civilians. And caches of Hamas weapons were found in some of the U.N. agency’s facilities, which are supposed to be neutral and demilitarized.

But even at this low point, as each side hurled accusations at the other, Israel and the U.N. continued to nurture their decades-long relationship. UNRWA closely coordinated its work with Israel’s military. And Israel still enjoyed the peace and quiet of knowing that an international agency was taking care of the health care, education and employment needs of many of the Palestinians for which Israel would otherwise be held responsible as Gaza’s ruler under international law.

“I’m sure it does surprise people to learn that we have a good relationship with the Israeli army,” UNRWA spokesman Christopher Gunness said in an August 1 phone interview from his office in Jerusalem. An Israeli defense official who was not authorized to speak on record agreed, noting that “more often than not, we get along just fine” with the U.N. agency….

UNRWA is in a bind even talking about these things. If it discusses practical cooperation with local authorities in Gaza, certain extreme partisans of Israel attack the organization. If it discusses practical cooperation with Israel, it makes it harder for the Agency to work in the occupied Palestinian territory. The messaging must constantly be recalibrated in a careful balancing act.

However, the truth is that Israel depends on UNRWA to bandage over some of the consequences of both its blockade (which has left around half the Gazan population in need of UN food aid) and military actions (whereby UNRWA can be counted upon to care for those driven from their homes by Israeli bombing). Israel also much prefers that Palestinians go to UNRWA schools (where they get largely the same curriculum used in the West Bank and even Israeli-controlled East Jerusalem) than Hamas-controlled schools (where no neutrality policy prevents classroom propaganda). Unlike others, it can count on UNRWA to prevent the leakage of aid resources into Hamas hands. And, although not widely known, UNRWA provides its entire employee list to Israel and host countries on a regular basis for security vetting.

The result is public discourse that is often out of alignment with Israeli practice. This isn’t helped by the tendency for some Israeli politicians and officials to publicly berate the Agency even as their government works with it as a practical matter. The net result is the sort of paradox seen when Canada, under prodding from advocacy groups, ended support to the Agency in 2009. Far from praising the move, the Israeli government actually lobbied Ottawa to restart funding, and even to expand it.

Attack on UNRWA school in Rafah

Posted: August 3, 2014 by Rex Brynen in Gaza, Hamas, Israel, UNRWA

un-school-blood

A third UNRWA school and designated emergency shelter in Gaza, this time in the southern city of Rafah, was attacked today.

According to an initial report in the Guardian:

At least seven people have been killed and dozens more wounded after a projectile struck a street outside a school in the city of Rafah, in the south of Gaza.

The school was sheltering more than 3,000 people displaced by fighting in the area. It has been the scene of heavy bombardment by the Israeli military and fierce clashes following the suspected capture by Hamas fighters of an Israeli soldier, later declared killed in action.

At the time of the strike – about 10.50am – dozens of children and adults were clustered around its gates buying biscuits and sweets from stalls set up by locals.

The missile struck the ground eight to 10 metres from the open gates. Witnesses at the scene less than an hour after the explosion claimed it had been fired from one of the many unmanned Israeli drones in the air above Rafah.

United Nations officials in Gaza described a “shelling incident” or an air strike.

It was impossible to determine the exact provenance of the projectile, but it was the third time in 10 days that a UN school had been hit. Earlier this week, Israeli tank shells lstruck a school in the northern town of Jabaliya, killing 16 in an attack denounced by the UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, as “reprehensible”.

In all, seven UN schools have been attacked during the conflict.

Israeli spokesmen have previously blamed poorly aimed or malfunctioning Hamas mortar fire or rockets for several such incidents.

UN officials now seem to be suggesting that Israel was responsible:

The Washington Post puts the death toll at 10:

 An apparent Israeli airstrike landed outside a United Nations school in southern Gaza on Sunday, killing at least 10 people and injuring more than 30, as Israel said it had withdrawn most of its ground forces but would continue its military operation in the coastal strip.

A spokesman for the U.N. Relief and Works Agency said the blast occurred outside the school in the southern border city of Rafah while about 3,000 Palestinians, who had fled their homes and were seeking refuge, were waiting in line for food and other supplies.

“It seems that it was an Israeli airstrike, according to our staff on the ground,” said Adnan Abu Hasna, a spokesman for the agency, which is assisting more than 200,000 Palestinian evacuees at 90 schools and other facilities in Gaza. “They shelled near the gate of the school. Multiple people were killed inside and outside the school.” A U.N. employee was among those killed, he said.

Capt. Eytan Buchman, a spokesman for the Israel Defense Forces, said the military was investigating the reports and could not comment further on the incident.

Rafah

The UN Secretary-General has strongly condemned the attack, without attributing blame:

 

(Reuters) – U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon described a deadly attack on a U.N. school on Sunday as a “moral outrage and a criminal act” and called for those responsible for the “gross violation of international humanitarian law” to be held accountable.

 

In a statement, Ban strongly condemned the shelling of the school in Rafah in southern Gaza that killed at least 10 civilians. The school was sheltering 3,000 displaced persons and Ban said the “Israel Defense Forces have been repeatedly informed of the location of these sites.”

The total number of Gazans current sheltering in UNRWA facilities has reached over a quarter million. Ten UNRWA staff have been killed in the fighting.

UPDATE

It would now appear the IDF conducted an attack against suspected PIJ members as they drove past the crowded school:

If this were a missile strike from a drone, the operator would have certainly known at the time how crowded the immediate areas was with civilians, as well as the likely identity of this location as a school (which is quite distinctive from the air).

The US has issued an unusually strong condemnation of the attack:

BuIbE46IUAEGe1G.png-large

UNRWA has also issued a formal statement:

STATEMENT BY UNRWA COMMISSIONER GENERAL, PIERRE KRÄHENBÜHL, AND DIRECTOR OF UNRWA OPERATIONS IN GAZA, ROBERT TURNER

Gaza

This morning at about 1045 Gaza time there was an Israeli missile strike adjacent to the main gate of the UNRWA Boys’ Prep School ‘A’ in the town of Rafah, in southern Gaza. We believe as many as nine people were killed, including an UNRWA guard, and 27 were injured. Almost three thousand people had registered at the school, one of ninety which we are using as temporary shelters for some 260,000 displaced people across the Gaza strip.

On six occasions since the start of the conflict, UNRWA schools housing the displaced were subject to direct shelling.  This is the first time a strike in the immediate vicinity of one of our premises, of which there have been several, caused fatalities. As in previous incidents, UNRWA had notified the Israeli Army of the location of the school to make sure that it was protected from the violence that has so dramatically affected the entire population of Gaza, displacing a total of at least 475,000 people. For this particular installation we notified the Israeli Army on 33 separate occasions that this school in Rafah was being used to accommodate the displaced, the last time only an hour before the incident.

The incident in Rafah is a further tragic and unacceptable reminder that there is nowhere safe in Gaza for people to take refuge. No one feels secure and given that Gaza is enclosed by a barrier, there is also nowhere safe for them to run. While UNRWA will continue to provide all possible aid and protection to the displaced, we remind the parties that they must respect the sanctity of civilian life, the inviolability of UN property and that they must abide their obligations under international humanitarian law to protect civilians and humanitarian workers.

We are painfully aware of how dangerous working in Gaza is. In the last hours before the Rafah incident, confirmation had come through that another UNRWA worker, our eleventh, was killed. Our hearts goes out to their families and loved ones at this terrible time.

We vigorously condemn today’s Israeli strike and find it incomprehensible that such violence has happened again, only four days since we carried out dead and wounded civilians who had sought refuge in a UN installation. We again call on the Israeli authorities immediately to investigate this appalling incident in Rafah. We made two similar calls after the shelling incidents at our schools housing thousands of displaced people in Beit Hanoun and Jabalia, which caused multiple deaths and injuries. We fully expect the result of these three investigations to be transmitted to us.

International law requires that principles of distinction, proportionality and precaution in attack must be taken into account by parties to a conflict to reduce civilian casualties; the frequency of these incidents increases the urgency to find out why this continues to happen and hold accountable those responsible. We echo the Secretary-General’s call for an immediate cease-fire. This is another urgent reminder that the people of Gaza need an end to this violence and a negotiated settlement that addresses so the underlying causes; instead of this being the third war, it must be the last.

Fred Abrahams at Human Rights Watch has suggested the weapon used was a Spike anti-tank missile.

That is possible–the blast is certainly consistent with a HEAT warhead–but it is probably too early to tell. Most versions of the Spike would allow an operator to see the target zone and guide the missile.

Resources on the humanitarian crisis in Gaza

Posted: August 2, 2014 by Rex Brynen in Gaza, Hamas, Israel, UNRWA

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Since I will be out of the country next week I won’t have an opportunity update the website. However, ongoing information on refugees and the humanitarian crisis in Gaza can be obtained from:

In addition, follow UNRWA spokesperson Chris Gunness on Twitter.