Israel compensates UN for damages during last year’s Gaza offensive

Children in an UNRWA school in Beit Lahiya, Gaza, which suffered a direct hit from IDF fire on 17 January 2009 (file)

22 January 2010 – Israel has paid the United Nations $10.5 million for damage to the world body’s properties in Gaza during last year’s Israeli offensive against Hamas.

During the three-week operation, which Israel says it launched in response to rocket attacks against it, Israeli shells struck the UN’s main centre in Gaza City, setting ablaze a warehouse with hundreds of tons of food and medicine, and at least three UN schools run for Palestinian refugee children were also attacked.

The incidents were investigated by the UN Headquarters Board of Inquiry early last year, after which Israel and the UN held discussions over compensation.

“With this payment, the United Nations has agreed that the financial issues relating to those incidents referred to in the terms of reference of the Board of Inquiry are concluded,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s spokesman Martin Nesirky told a news briefing today. “The Secretary-General would like to record the cooperative approach that the Government of Israel has shown in the course of the discussions that led to this settlement.”

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