RAMALLAH, Wednesday, May 19, 2021 (WAFA) – The Palestinian Ministry of Culture today released a statement in which it detailed Israel's attack on cultural and educational institutions in the Gaza Strip.
“Israel has started a full-scale attack on Gaza including air strikes, tank and artillery fires that mostly targeted civilian targets and resulted in the killing of 216 Palestinians that 58 of them were children and 33 of them were women and 15 were aged people until this moment," the statement said.
“The Israeli air strikes had no proportional balance and aimed to target as many civilians as possible which completely contradicts with the International law and is considered a war crime. This is the ninth day of the ongoing Israeli military campaign on the Palestinian civilians in Gaza that were already living in extremely hard conditions due to the siege before that last military campaign.”
“The Israeli attack continues to target Educational and Cultural buildings including Book stores that gathered thousands of books that are now due to be damaged and puts civilians working in these places in danger. The Israeli attacks targeted the Kuheil building near the Islamic University which caused direct damage to the university – Israel’s ongoing attacks caused direct damage to Samir Mansour Publishing house, Iqraá bookstore and score of other smaller bookstores and publishing and distribution agencies.”
“The attacks on other buildings in the city caused severe damage to many cultural centers and institutions including Basma Institute for Culture and Arts and Mashareq production center. Moreover, dozens of media and information offices and more International and Local Media/News agencies were totally or partially damaged," the statement added.
"The attacks on cultural and media institutes are part of an ongoing Israeli policy to destroy all aspects of life in the country. In the last Israeli assaults in 2014, the main Gaza five stores theatre house “Mis-hal Center” was leveled to the ground," the statement argued.
"These crimes against culture and people working the sector urges for concrete response from your organization to protect them, stop any future harm and to condemn the current crimes. It is especially important for us working on the cultural sector and stand to our values and support the right of artists, writers and producers and their centers, institutes and organizations to be safe and protected. These violations against cultural sector are not limited to the ongoing crimes in Gaza. Every day Israel violates every aspect of our rights. Harsh measures are taken against cultural and art centers in Jerusalem. Authors and artists are arrested and tortured. Last week the young composer Mariam Afifi was put in Jail."
The Ministry urged the international community to take immediate action to halt the Israeli attacks.
"The brutal Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip and other measures taken in Jerusalem and the West Bank are all crimes to which the international community should response for the sake of peace and stability in the region," the statement concluded.