UNRWA Strongly Condemns Israeli Shelling of Its School in Gaza as Serious Violation of International Law

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JERUSALEM, July 30, 2014 – (WAFA) – UNRWA strongly condemned Wednesday Israel’s shelling of its school in Gaza.

The deadliest Israeli strike targeted Wednesday an UNRWA-run school being used as a refuge for internally-displaced Palestinians in Jabalia refugee camp in northern Gaza Strip. Two shells hit classrooms where dozens of Palestinians were sheltering, according to AFP.

UNRWA Commissioner General Pierre Krahenbuhlunrwa described this as an ‘affront’ and a ‘disgrace’. He stated: “Last night, children were killed as they slept next to their parents on the floor of a classroom in a UN designated shelter in Gaza. Children killed in their sleep; this is an affront to all of us, a source of universal shame. Today the world stands disgraced.”

After visiting the site and gathering evidence through analyzing fragments and examining craters and other damage, Krahenbuhlunrwa  stated: “Our initial assessment is that it was Israeli artillery that hit our school, in which 3,300 people had sought refuge. We believe there were at least three impacts. It is too early to give a confirmed official death toll. But we know that there were multiple civilian deaths and injuries   including of women and children and the UNRWA guard who was trying to protect the site.  These are people who were instructed to leave their homes by the Israeli army.”

The statement added that “the precise location of the Jabalia Elementary Girls School and the fact that it was housing thousands of internally displaced people was communicated to the Israeli army seventeen times,  to ensure its protection; the last being at  ten to nine last night, just hours before the fatal shelling.” This indicates that it was deliberately targeted.

Krahenbuhlunrwa condemned ‘in the strongest possible terms’ this serious violation of international law by Israeli forces.

“This is the sixth time that one of our schools has been struck. Our staff, the very people leading the humanitarian response are being killed.  Our shelters are overflowing. Tens of thousands may soon be stranded in the streets of Gaza, without food, water and shelter if attacks on these areas continue,” the statement added.

Calling for holding the perpetrator accountable, Krahenbuhlunrwa stated: “We have moved beyond the realm of humanitarian action alone. We are in the realm of accountability. I call on the international community to take deliberate international political action to put an immediate end to the continuing carnage.”

Source: WAFA