Just as an accompaniment to my previous posting Palestinians: Now's Time to Remember Peter Hanson! the following was what Peter Hanson said when he resigned from his position as the Commissioner-General of the UN Relief & Work Agency (UNRWA), after the USA demanded of UN Secretary-General that Hanson must leave or the USA would withhold $120 million aid needed by the UN for releif operations. Hanson lamented:
"The situation in Gaza is so horrendous that without the help of bulldozers you couldn’t get through the debris and sand barriers thrown up to block traffic. "
“If you wanted to go into Gaza today you wouldn’t be able to because there are tanks along all along the main road to Gaza. All along the road you will see houses that have been bulldozed. As you move down through Gaza the situation gets even worse. As you approach the southern end of Gaza - where Kann Yunis and Rafah have seen continued destruction, where the numbers of people who have been made homeless by bulldozers exceeds 25,000 - we have managed to re-house 8,000 of them but we are fighting a losing battle. We can not build as fast as the destruction takes place. So, Gaza is in a very, very poor state. Everybody there hopes that this conflict can end so not only their suffering can end but the deprivation of a dignified human life after decades."
“When I look at checkpoints and I see the treatment meted out to innocent women and children, who are Palestinians or whatever, trying to get through, I think that there is a great brutalizing factor in having young men and young women exposed to exercising the kind of discretionary power, and often cruelty, that they do at checkpoints. That’s a damage, of course, that is difficult to measure but it is one that I think, and many psychologists would agree with me, that it will affect and plague Israeli society for years to come once these duties at checkpoints and military occupation will cease with a solution whenever that may come.”
“Maybe it’s a good thing for the soldier’s mental state that they don’t think about what they are doing. It’s one thing to think about the pain of what you are doing and another to be suffering at the hands of those who are doing it. The excuse that an order is an order and we don’t think about it is one that soldiers of various stripes have used throughout history in some cases with worse moral consequences than others.”
“We are the largest international humanitarian agency in terms of staff, education, health services, and social services. And I think our staff gets a good deal of well deserved recognition for all that. At the same time, there is probably no UN agency that is more maligned than UNWRA is and subject to more willfully distorted misrepresentations of what we are, most of which are so completely off the wall and so wild that they cannot be taken seriously by anybody except for small groups of fanatics who are ready to believe anything that they are told.”