The United Nations Headquarters Board of Inquiry on Tuesday, May 5, accused Israel of deliberately targeting its facilities and civilians taking shelter under UN flags during its recent three-week war on the Gaza Strip.
"In six of the nine incidents the board concluded that the death, injuries and damage involved were caused by military actions, using munitions launched or dropped from the air or fired from the ground, by the Israel Defense Forces," according to a 27-page summary of the report.
It blamed Israel for the deaths of three young men killed in an Israeli missile strike at the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) Asma school in Gaza City on 5 January.
The report also said Israel fired heavy mortar rounds into the UNRWA Jabalia School a day later, injuring seven people sheltering in the school and killing up to 40 people outside it.
The probe found that a patient was killed and two others seriously injured when Israeli warplanes targeted the UNRWA Bureij health centre on the same day.
Israeli artillery firing into the UNRWA field office compound in Gaza City on 15 January caused injuries and considerable damage to the buildings and disrupted the UN’s humanitarian operations in Gaza.
The report said that on 17 January, the Israelis fired at the UNRWA Beit Lahia School, killing two children.
It also accused Israel of targeting the UNESCO compound on 29 December, causing damage to UN buildings and vehicles.
The 184-page report was compiled by a team of four led by Ian Martin, a Briton who is a former head of Amnesty International and a former UN special envoy to East Timor and Nepal.
The full findings, submitted to the Security Council on Tuesday, will not be made public.
United Nations Headquarters Board of Inquiry, commissioned by UN chief Ban Ki-moon, heavily criticized the Israeli army.
"The board concluded that IDF actions involved varying degrees of negligence or recklessness with regard to UN premises and to the safety of UN staff and other civilians within those premises, with consequent deaths, injuries, and extensive physical damage and loss of property."
The report stressed that UN premises are inviolable and that inviolability cannot be set aside by the demands of military expediency.
"UN personnel and all civilians within UN premises, as well as civilians in the immediate vicinity of those premises, are to be protected in accordance with the rules and principles of international humanitarian law."
The UN board demanded that Israel retracts earlier claims that Palestinians had been firing at its troops from within UN premises.
It recommended that UN should pursue Israel for reparations and reimbursement for all expenses incurred, including the death or injury of UN personnel or third parties, and the repair of UN property.
The UN board also recommended further investigation into possible war crimes.
The UN Human Rights Council is expected to dispatch a fact-finding mission to Gaza, though Israel has already announced it would not cooperate.
International human rights groups including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have accused Israel’s military of serious violations of international law and possible war crimes in Gaza.
(IslamOnline.net and Agencies)