In a letter transmitting to the Security Council the public summary of a report of the Board of Inquiry regarding incidents in Gaza during the recent conflict, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today expressed his "profound and continuing concern” for civilian populations of the Gaza Strip and Israel.
“The agony of Palestinian civilians in Gaza, and the tragic, decades-long predicament they endure there, is reflected in the report of the Board of Inquiry,” said Mr. Ban in the letter. “We should also bear in mind that Israeli civilians in southern Israel continue to face the threat of rocket and terrorist attacks by Hamas and other militant groups.”
According to the UN spokesperson, Farhan Haq, the Board of Inquiry reviewed and investigated seven incidents, which involved the loss of 44 Palestinian lives, together with at least 227 injured, and damage at UN facilities.
The Board also reviewed three incidents involving weapons found in UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) schools, including instances in which Palestinian armed groups may have used UNRWA school premises to launch attacks.
With no progress on the critical elements that would secure long-term peace for the people of the region, Mr. Haq said report is a reminder that what is needed is a durable cease-fire, which includes an end to arms smuggling, the opening of the crossings, more progress on the reconstruction of Gaza, and greater steps toward implementing the so-called ‘Beach Camp’ accord, which addresses much-needed Palestinian reconciliation.
Mr. Haq said that the Secretary-General attached even greater importance to finding new momentum in the search for a resolution of the conflict in the Middle East and he stressed the need for resumption of direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, calling for support of the process through international engagement.