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‘I have a special place in my heart for Palestinians’, says Hollywood legend Richard Gere

Hollywood legend Richard Gere had some deeply touching words to say about Palestinians and their plight under Israel’s brutal military occupation. The 71-year-old, whose solidarity with the Palestinian people is well publicised, spoke about the special place Palestinians occupy in his heart and the important role of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA).

Gere’s latest comments on Palestine were tweeted by the US branch of UNRWA, as the agency faces monetary challenges to meet the needs of more than five million refugees and attacks from Israel which for decades has campaigned to defund the UN body and undermined its work.

“I have a special place in my heart for Palestinians, and what you’re going through right now is unimaginable,” Gere said while speaking about the hope, resilience of Palestinians, and the importance of UNRWA to the besieged population of Gaza

More than half of Gaza’s two million population are refugees who were ethnically cleansed from territories in Israel. They are heavily dependent on UNRWA for basic needs including health, housing, and education.

Gere’s comments came as Palestinians in Gaza, who have been subjected to a 14-year Israeli siege, try to recover from the occupation state’s latest aggression which killed more than 250 people including women and children.

The 71-year-old is known for his humanitarian stance and for his support of the Palestinian people. In 2017 Gere likened the situation in occupied Hebron to segregation in the Jim Crow-era American South when black Americans were subjected to apartheid-like structural discrimination.

“It’s exactly what the Old South was in America. Blacks knew where they could go: they could drink from that fountain, they couldn’t go over there, they couldn’t eat in that place,” he told an Israeli TV station during a tour of the segregated West Bank city.

Gere has also denounced Israeli settlements as “an absurd provocation” and claimed that the “occupation is destroying everyone” while insisting that “there is no defence of this occupation.”