The murder toll from the ongoing Israeli incursions in the Gaza Strip has mounted to at least 8,805 Palestinians, including 3,648 children.
An emotional Ons Jabeur has announced that she will be donating a portion of her GNP Seguros WTA Finals Cancun prize money to Palestinians facing Israeli aggression.
The World No.7 said she could not be happy with her victory at the season-ending championships due to the rising death toll in Gaza, where nearly 9,000 have been killed by relentless Israeli bombing.
“I am very happy with the win, but I haven’t been happy lately, to be honest with you. The situation in the world doesn’t make me happy,” the Tunisian star said, before breaking down into tears.
“It’s very tough seeing children, babies dying every day. It’s heartbreaking. So, I’ve decided to donate part of my prize money to help the Palestinians. I cannot be happy with just this win, with what is happening. I’m sorry guys, it’s supposed to be about tennis, but it’s very frustrating looking at videos every day,” the former world No 2 added.
“I’m sorry, it’s not a political message. It’s just humanity. I want peace in this world, and that’s it.”
Defeating No.6 Marketa Vondrousova 6-4, 6-3 in round-robin play at the Cancun tournament, Jabeur continued to speak on the Israeli incursions in the Gaza Strip at her press conference.
“I try to stay off social media as much as I can, but it’s very tough,” Jabeur said.
“You go through videos, photos, they’re horrible, horrible photos every day. It doesn’t help me sleep or recover very well, and the worst thing is I feel hopeless. I feel like I cannot do anything. I wish I can have a magic hand and just end all this and just peace for everybody,” said the highest-ranked African and Arab tennis player in WTA and ATP rankings history.
Death toll from Israeli attacks soars
The emotional plea for peace came as the death toll from the ongoing Israeli attacks in the Gaza Strip mounted to at least 8,805 Palestinians, including 3,648 children.
On Thursday, officials said 195 were killed and another 120 are missing following Israel’s bombing of the Jabalia refugee camp.
The United Nations human rights office said the devastating air attack could amount to a war crime.
“Given the high number of civilian casualties [and] the scale of destruction following Israeli air strikes on Jabalia refugee camp, we have serious concerns that these are disproportionate attacks that could amount to war crimes,” the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights wrote on X.
The Israeli Occupations Forces (IOF) struck the Jabalia refugee camp, which is the largest in Gaza, twice on Tuesday and again on Wednesday.
The European Union’s top diplomat, Josep Borrell, said he was appalled at Israel’s bombing of the residential site.
“Building on EU Council’s clear stance that Israel has the right to defend itself in line with international humanitarian law and ensuring the protection of all civilians, I am appalled by the high number of casualties following the bombing by Israel of the Jabalia refugee camp,” he wrote on X.
Borrell hosted high-level discussions this week on the Gaza war, speaking with Foreign Minister of Saudi Arabia Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud, Jordan’s Ayman Safadi, and Egypt’s Sameh Shukry, as well as the Secretary-General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Hissein Brahim Taha.
‘Unprecedented scale of tragedy’
The EU official called for the immediate need to restore political stability to achieve a sustainable and permanent conflict settlement based on the two-state solution.
Meanwhile, in his first such visit to the Gaza Strip since the war erupted, Philippe Lazzarini, the Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), said the situation in the enclave is “unprecedented”.
“The scale of the tragedy is unprecedented. It was one of the saddest days in my humanitarian work,” Lazzarini said.
Depicting the grim conditions on the ground, Lazzarini said, “the levels of distress and the unsanitary living conditions were beyond comprehension. Everyone was just asking for water and food.”
Lazzarini said that calls for a cease fire are “falling on deaf ears. A humanitarian ceasefire is long overdue.”
“Without it, more people will be killed, those who are alive will endure further losses, and the once vibrant society will be in grief, forever,” he added.