Chris Gunness, the spokesperson for The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), has issued a statement in response to the Israeli Defense Force closing a criminal investigation into a bombing that took place near a UN-run school in Rafah during the 2014 offensive on Gaza.
The statement read, “According to the UN Secretary General’s Board of Inquiry, the incident took place at a UNRWA school which had been designated as an emergency shelter on July 18. Between 2,700 to 2,900 people were sheltered there. The Israeli Army launched a precision-guided missile striking the road outside the school, which had opened its gates. 15 persons in the vicinity were killed, including a guard hired by the UNRWA. As many as 30 people were injured. The Secretary General’s Board of Inquiry found that the missile was targeting people passing by on a motorcycle.”
The statement added that the UNRWA has notified the Israeli army on 33 occasions that the school was used by displaced Palestinians as a shelter; and even did so an hour before the incident took place.
The statement added, “This raises serious questions about the conduct of military operations in relation to obligations under international humanitarian law and respect for the inviolability and sanctity of United Nations premises under international law.”
It continued, “We remain determined to ensure that incidents are thoroughly investigated
The statement concluded that the UNRWA has provided the Israeli army with necessary information regarding the bombing of two other UNRWA schools in Gaza, without receiving any response.
It stated, “Two years after the end of the 2014 war, Israeli criminal investigations into the strikes on UNRWA emergency shelters in Beit Hanoun (24 July) and in Jabalia (30 July) that resulted together in some 29 civilian deaths and dozens of injuries are still ongoing. UNRWA has cooperated with the Israeli investigations. Despite a follow-up, however, the UNRWA has received no news to date about progress on these investigations