U.S. Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power issues statement on UNWRA school hit earlier today


Statement by Ambassador Samantha Power, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, on the Striking of an UNRWA School in the Gaza Strip, July 24, 2014

We are deeply concerned about reports of the striking of an UNRWA school in Beit Hanoun, in the Gaza Strip, today.  This terrible incident has resulted in the deaths of many innocent civilians who were seeking shelter from the ongoing conflict. Our deepest condolences go out to the families and friends of those who lost loved ones.

As we have said before, UN facilities must be respected and protected, and we call on all parties to act consistently with this principle.  UN facilities in Gaza are sheltering more than 140,000 Palestinians, including many innocent children, and must be safe, neutral sanctuaries for fleeing civilians. We condemn the use of these facilities to house rockets and launch attacks on civilians in Israel, and we emphasize that civilians seeking shelter in those facilities must be respected and protected.

Today’s loss of life only further underscores the importance of Secretary Kerry’s and Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s efforts to facilitate a cessation of hostilities based on a return to the 2012 Israel-Hamas cease-fire agreement.