News / Middle East

UN Urges Respect of its Gaza Facilities

Valerie Amos, United Nations Under-Secretary- General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator (seen on screen) briefs a U.N. Security Council meeting on the situation in the Middle East, at U.N. headquarters in New York, July 31, 2014.
Valerie Amos, United Nations Under-Secretary- General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator (seen on screen) briefs a U.N. Security Council meeting on the situation in the Middle East, at U.N. headquarters in New York, July 31, 2014.
Margaret Besheer

The head of the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees called on Israel and Hamas militants to respect the inviolability of U.N. premises Thursday, a day after Israeli fire killed 19 civilians sheltering at a U.N. school in the Gaza Strip.  

UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krähenbühl spoke to the U.N. Security Council from Gaza. He strongly condemned the shelling of the school in Jabalya, which housed 3,300 displaced Palestinians who he said had been warned by the Israeli military to flee their homes.

"Speaking to many inhabitants of Gaza yesterday and today I have heard the same messages time and time again.  'If we are not safe in an UNRWA school, we are not safe anywhere in Gaza,' they say.  They add, 'the world has failed us, has failed to protect,'" said Krähenbühl.

Under international law, U.N. operations, personnel and premises are inviolable.

Krähenbühl said UNRWA is sheltering more than 220,000 displaced Palestinians at 85 U.N. schools, which are not equipped to handle such large groups for extended periods of time.  He said families are crowded - 80 persons to each classroom - and the threat of disease is looming.

  • Hajar Muharram, 5, sits in a classroom where the family of seven now live, at a U.N. school, in Beit Lahiya, northern Gaza Strip, Thursday, July 31, 2014.
  • Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (C) and Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon (L) attend a cabinet meeting in Tel Aviv July 31, 2014.
  • A woman carries a bag of food supplies that she received from a United Nations food distribution center in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip July 31, 2014.
  • People pray next to the bodies of Palestinians from the al-Silk family during their funeral in Gaza City July 31, 2014.
  • Heygar Jendiyah, left, points to where the family house kitchen once stood, partially destroyed by a previous air strike, as her children Ranin, 10, center, and Helmi, right, listen, in the Sabra neighborhood of Gaza City, northern Gaza Strip,
  • An Israeli soldier stands atop an armored vehicle at a staging area near the border with the Gaza Strip July 31, 2014.
  • Israeli soldiers carry cases at a staging area near the border with the Gaza Strip July 31, 2014
  • Israeli tanks at a staging area near the border with the Gaza Strip July 31, 2014.

He expressed concern about reports that the Israel Defense Forces have told residents of the Zaytun area of Gaza City and the southern town of Khan Yunis to evacuate their homes.  He said UNRWA does not have the capacity to absorb and provide for more displaced persons.

"Should further large-scale displacement indeed occur, the occupying power, according to international humanitarian law, will have to assume direct responsibility to assist these people," he said.

U.N. humanitarian chief Valerie Amos told the council that until a long-term cease-fire is in place, reliable, daily humanitarian pauses are necessary so aid can be distributed, the injured rescued and the dead recovered.

Israel's U.N. ambassador, Ron Prosor, said Israel is still investigating what happened at the Jabalya school and added that no Israeli soldier intentionally targets civilians.  He disputed U.N. figures that 80 percent of the Palestinian casualties in Gaza have been civilians, saying Israel believes nearly half have been militants.

Palestinian envoy Riyad Mansour called for justice and accountability for the more than 1,300 dead and urged a lifting of the economic blockade on Gaza.

Mansour said, "Because when you put 1.8 million Palestinian civilians in this huge prison, denying them food because they cannot fish in the sea, denying them electricity, denying them safe places, denying them adequate medical facilities, denying them clean water - what are you doing?  Isn't that genocide?"

He said despite the bloodshed, the Palestinian people still want a political resolution to the conflict and a two-state solution so they can live in freedom and dignity.

You May Like

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor warns of obesity’s worldwide health impact More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: eusebio manuel vestias from: Portugal
August 02, 2014 5:17 AM
Diplomacy internacional community for peace in Palestine and Israel

by: Haji Abass from: Nairobi
August 01, 2014 9:47 AM
United nation is aproject of zaionist.they are directly responsible of this massacer so lethem not fool us.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam Wari
X
Katherine Gypson
May 25, 2015 1:32 AM
For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.

VOA Blogs