Peres Condemns UN Gaza Report

Shimon Peres, the Israeli president, has condemned a UN investigation into attacks on its facilities in Gaza as "outrageous" and "one-sided".

Peres said Israel doesn’t "accept one word" of the report, which found that Israel was to blame for at least seven direct attacks on UN operations during its assault on Gaza earlier this year.

"We think it’s outrageous, we will never accept it. We don’t think we have to apologize because we have the right to defend the lives of our women and children," Peres said after meeting Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary-general, in New York on Wednesday.

Ban has faced criticism for refusing to order a further UN investigation into Israel’s assault on Gaza despite the report’s recommendation that he do so.

Peres appeared to offer his backing to Ban, saying he had the "highest regard" for him.

"The secretary general is not responsible for the report," Peres said.

Report Reaction

"He tried to distinguish between what is necessary in order to be objective and fair and listen to us."

The Israeli president insisted that his country has cooperated fully with the UN enquiry team and but conceded that "we made some mistakes".

The UN report, commissioned by Ban, said the Israeli military intentionally fired at UN facilities and civilians hiding in them during the war and used disproportionate force.

Missiles, bombs and small arms were all used by Israel against the UN – leading to dozens of deaths.

The UN’s own fuel and aid depot in Gaza was hit with Israeli artillery shells causing widespread damage.

The attack continued for two hours after the UN asked the Israeli military for it to stop.

‘Negligence and Recklessness’

The report’s summary accused the Israeli army of "varying degrees of negligence or recklessness with regard to United Nations 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."

Ban said at a news conference on Tuesday that the aim of the report, which is not legally binding, was to establish "a clear record of the facts" surrounding incidents involving UN premises and personnel.

A total of 53 installations used by the United Nations Relief and Works agency (UNRWA) were damaged or destroyed during Israel’s Gaza campaign, including 37 schools – six of which were being used as emergency shelters – six health centres, and two warehouses, the UN agency said.

The report said the UN would seek reparations for damages from Israel and meet the Israeli government.

Israel’s 22-day war on Gaza left more than 1,400 Palestinians dead, including around 400 children, Gaza health officials said, along with 13 Israelis.

Much of the coastal territory was also left in ruins.
(Aljazeera and Agencies)

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