The Guardian, April 27,2015
Israel was responsible for striking seven United Nations sites used as civilian shelters during the 2014 Gaza war in which 44 Palestinians died and 227 others were injured, an inquiry ordered by UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon has concluded.
Releasing the report on Monday, Ban condemned the attacks “as a matter of the utmost gravity” and said “those who looked to them for protection and who sought and were granted shelter there had their hopes and trust denied”.
Ban insisted that UN locations were “inviolable”.
The issue is particularly sensitive as the locations of all UN buildings – including schools used as shelters – are routinely provided to the Israeli military and updated in times of conflict.
Ban’s criticism was contained in the published summary letter of a confidential internal report, commissioned by the secretary general in November, running to 207 pages.
In his letter Ban also hit out at Palestinian militant groups for putting some UN schools in Gaza at risk by hiding weapons in three locations that were not being used as shelters.
“I am dismayed that Palestinian militant groups would put United Nations schools at risk by using them to hide their arms.”
He added, however, that: “The three schools at which weaponry was found were empty at the time and were not being used as shelters.”