Statement by Ambassador Samantha Power, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, on the Strike outside an UNRWA School

Samantha Power
U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations 
New York, NY
August 3, 2014




FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Today’s strike outside an UNRWA school in Rafah, where an estimated 3,000 people were taking shelter, is horrifying. This incident, which took the lives of at least ten Palestinians, including one UNRWA staff member, and injured many more, is only the latest in a conflict that has left dead approximately 1,750 people, including 11 UN staff, and injured many thousands more. Additionally, the UN estimates as many as 475,000 people have been displaced by the violence, of whom more than 259,000 are sheltering in 90 UNRWA schools, which are not equipped as shelters. It is imperative that all sides work towards a ceasefire that ends the rocket attacks and tunnel threat from Hamas, and the perilous situation faced by civilians in Gaza.

We call on all parties to take all feasible precautions to prevent civilian casualties, comply with international humanitarian law and respect UN facilities in Gaza. We further call on Israel to conduct a full and prompt investigation of this incident as well as the recent strikes that hit other UNRWA schools. Civilians, many of whom have been told to evacuate their homes by the Israel Defense Forces, must be able to find refuge in safe, UN-designated shelters.

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PRN: 2014/170