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UNRWA Spokesperson Launches Play about Israeli Attack on UN Compound in Gaza

November 3, 2009

Rory McCarthy of the British Guardian has recently written an article exploring a play written and directed by UNRWA spokesperson Chris Gunness.  Entitled “Building Understanding: Epitaph for a Warehouse,” Gunness’s one-actor, 20-minute play illustrates the shelling of a UN warehouse in Gaza during Operation Cast Lead.  The warehouse, the largest such UN-run compound in the Gaza Strip, is said to have stored food and aid for a million of Gaza’s 1.5 million residents. At the time of shelling, it sheltered between 600 and 700 Gazans.

Gunness, a former BBC correspondent who last year often reported on much of the destruction Israel wrought in its 22-day assault on Gaza,  plays the part of the warehouse during the course of the play.  The play debuted in the French Cultural Center in East Jerusalem on October 28. It met with deeply mixed reactions in Israel earlier this fall, as recently examined by Donald MacIntyre.

The Goldstone Report finds the Israeli military’s attempt to rationalize its continuous shelling of the compound illegitimate–it concludes that this incident constitutes yet another grave violation of the Geneva Conventions by Israel.

“Building Understanding: Epitaph for a Warehouse” joins Caryl Churchill’s “Seven Jewish Children” as plays critical of Cast Lead.

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