UN Secretary General says Palestinian militants in Gaza put UN schools at risk not Israel

Palestinian militants were the ones who risked the civilian population by hiding weapons at UN premises being used as emergency shelters, writes UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.



United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Monday he deplores that a UN inquiry found “Israeli actions” killed at least 44 Palestinians and injured some 227 more at UN premises being used as emergency shelters during the 2014 Gaza conflict.

UNRWA school damaged by fighting in Gaza. – Photo: REUTERS

“It is a matter of the utmost gravity that those who looked to them for protection and who sought and were granted shelter there had their hopes and trust denied,” Ban wrote in his cover letter to a UN inquiry report into the incidents.

“I will work with all concerned and spare no effort to ensure that such incidents will never be repeated,” he said.

In his letter Ban also said that Palestinian militant groups had put UN schools in Gaza at risk by hiding weapons in three locations that were not being used as shelters.

“The fact that they were used by those involved in the fighting to store their weaponry and, in two cases, probably to fire from is unacceptable,” Ban said.

Last July, during Operation Protective Edge, the UN said it was investigating how 20 rockets ended up in one of its vacant schools in Gaza, which were closed for summer vacation.

The rockets were found during a regular inspection by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian refugees of its facilities.

The UN agency runs more than 200 schools in the Gaza Strip, which service more than 230,000 pupils.

“UNRWA strongly condemns the group or groups responsible for placing the weapons in one of its installations,” spokesman Christopher Gunness said at the time

“This is a flagrant violation of the inviolability of its premises under international law.”

Israel has in the past charged that terrorists hide weapons in UNRWA facilities in Gaza. UNRWA has consistently denied these charges.


Tovah Lazaroff contributed to this report.

View original The Jerusalem Post publication at: http://www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/UNs-Secretary-General-Palestinian-militants-put-UN-schools-at-risk-during-Gaza-war-399342