Sunday, August 3, 2014

UN chief condemns air strikes on UN Gaza school which killed ten

The United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has described a deadly attack on a UN school as a "moral outrage and a criminal act".
Mr Ban called for those responsible for the "gross violation of international humanitarian law" to be held accountable.
In a statement, Mr Ban strongly condemned the shelling of the school in Rafah in southern Gaza that killed at least 10 civilians.

The school was sheltering 3,000 displaced persons and Mr Ban said the "Israel Defense Forces have been repeatedly informed of the location of these sites." 
The Israeli military declined immediate comment on the attack, the second to hit a school in less than a week......................


  1. Gaza: Ban condemns latest deadly attack near UN school as 'moral outrage and criminal act'..........

    3 August 2014 – Amidst an 'appalling' escalation of violence in the Gaza Strip since the collapse of a brief 1 August ceasefire, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon strongly condemned the killing today of at least 10 Palestinian civilians in shelling outside of a United Nations school in Rafah which had been sheltering thousands of civilians.

    “The attack is yet another gross violation of international humanitarian law, which clearly requires protection by both parties of Palestinian civilians, UN staff and UN premises, among other civilian facilities,” declared Mr. Ban in a statement issued by his spokesperson in New York.

    “United Nations shelters must be safe zones not combat zones,” the Secretary-General's statement continued, adding that the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) have been repeatedly informed of the location of these sites. “This attack, along with other breaches of international law, must be swiftly investigated and those responsible held accountable. It is a moral outrage and a criminal act.”

    The UN chief's strongly worded statement comes after the collapse two days ago of a humanitarian ceasefire brokered by the United Nations and the Unites States, and in the wake of two earlier reported attacks near schools managed by the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).

    As the brief pause faltered and attacks in Gaza escalated, UN humanitarian officials yesterday said that weeks of intense fighting has left medical services and facilities in the enclave “on the verge of collapse,” warning that a health disaster of widespread proportions is rapidly unfolding.

    Mr. Ban's statement today expressed “profound dismay” over the appalling escalation of violence and loss of hundreds of Palestinian civilian lives since the breach of the ceasefire. The resurgence in fighting has only exacerbated the man-made humanitarian and health crisis wreaking havoc in Gaza.

    “Restoring calm can be achieved through resumption of the ceasefire and negotiations by the parties in Cairo to address the underlying issues,” said the statement, adding: “The Secretary-General repeats his demand to the parties to immediately end the fighting and return to the path of peace. This madness must stop.”

    Mr. Ban's strong condemnation was echoed in a statement issued in Jerusalem by the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Robert Serry, who also expressed dismay at reports of a strike in the immediate vicinity of the UNRWA school, which was sheltering some 3,000 civilians displaced by the ongoing violence.

    “It is simply intolerable that another school has come under fire while designated to provide shelter for civilians fleeing the hostilities,” said the statement, which underscored the Secretary-General's call on all parties to respect the inviolability of UN premises and protect civilians.....................

  2. ISRAEL'S 'NEW PHASE' Troops redeployed as Gaza school hit in airstrike...

    Ten people were killed in Gaza Sunday after a United Nations school sheltering displaced people was hit in an airstrike, as Israel signaled a possible scaling back of its troops.

    A U.N. official said appeared to be an Israeli airstrike. The Israeli military had no immediate comment, though it confirmed it was redeploying along the Gaza border for a "new phase" of an operation aimed at stopping rocket fire toward Israel and destroying the Hamas underground tunnel network.

    "We have indeed scaled down some of the presence and indeed urged Palestinians in certain neighborhoods to come back to their homes," said Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, a military spokesman.

    U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned the attack near the Rafah school as both "a moral outrage and a criminal act."

    Several Israeli tanks and other vehicles were seen leaving Gaza a day after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu suggested troops would reassess operations after completing the demolition of Hamas tunnels under the border. Security officials said the tunnel mission was winding down and Israel would soon be taking its troops out of the strip.

    The Wall Street Journal, citing witnesses, reported that Israeli tanks began to pull back toward the border late Saturday.

    The Wall Street Journal reported that Netanyahu's government is divided on what course to take following the completion of the tunnel operation. Some have pushed for a continuation of the all-out offensive, known as Operation Protective Edge. Others believe the best course is to end the offensive, keep a blockade operated jointly with Egypt in place, and mobilize international opinion to convince Hamas to disarm.

    A former Israeli security official told The Journal that Netanyahu's government would have three days to decide their next move after the completion of the tunnel operation, while Israeli forces would redeploy to the border regions......................

  3. Statement by President Barroso and President Van Rompuy in the name of the European Union on the situation in Gaza...

    Gaza has been suffering from intolerable violence for more than three weeks already. We deplore the terrible loss of lives, including innocent women and children. Many have been injured, property and livelihoods have been destroyed. This needs to stop immediately. We strongly condemn continued rocket fire over Israel. It constitutes an unacceptable threat to its citizens. Israel has the right to live in peace in its recognised borders. Legitimate defence needs to maintain proportionality. We have all seen these cycles in the past and we know that there are limits regarding what military operations can achieve. Only a negotiated solution, based on two States, living side by side and respectful of each other, will bring lasting peace. The bloodshed needs to stop. Today we join our voice to those of the Secretary General of the United Nations and other international leaders that are calling on both sides to put an end to hostilities. We are ready to support actively negotiations, confidence building measures, reconstruction and reconciliation efforts. No more lives should be wasted. Palestinian and Israeli leaders need to exercise courage by putting an end to this senseless violence. They also need to exercise courage and wisdom to move beyond these cycles of violence and advance towards arrangements that will ensure peaceful and dignified coexistence, based on mutual respect.

  4. Netanyahu urges Ban to postpone probe into shelling of UN facilities in Gaza....

    The UN chief was very emotional about the civilian casualties in Gaza and the importance of finding a solution to the conflict, an Israeli official said.

    NEW YORK - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon clashed Tuesday evening over the killing of Palestinian civilians when Israel attacked UNRWA facilities during the Gaza fighting this summer, Israeli officials said................


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