22 November – Secretary-General Kofi Annan today voiced serious concern about Israeli actions in response to the shooting in the West Bank today of a British worker supervising a project of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).
While the full circumstances surrounding the death of Iain Hook, who had been managing the Jenin camp rehabilitation project, have yet to be determined, a spokesman for Mr. Annan said the Secretary-General was "greatly disturbed" by the fact that the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) refused immediate access for an ambulance which had been summoned by UNRWA to take the victim to the hospital.
Mr. Hook, who had been trapped for several hours in the UNRWA office compound in the Jenin camp after the IDF's entry into the area sparked a prolonged armed clash, died before reaching the hospital.
"The Secretary-General has on a number of previous occasions called on the IDF to allow ambulances unimpeded access to the sick and injured," spokesman Stephane Dujarric recalled in a statement to the press in New York.
Mr. Annan, who expects to comment further on the matter, extended his condolences to the victim's family.
According to UNRWA, the source of the gunfire which killed Mr. Hook "is not known with absolute certainty."
The Agency's Commissioner-General issued a statement in Jerusalem voicing "shock and outrage" at Mr. Hook's death. Peter Hansen voiced hope that the victim's family would "take some small comfort and pride in the knowledge that he lost his life trying to save that of others."
Voicing his personal sense of "sadness and anger at this terrible loss," Mr. Hansen noted that increasingly, UNRWA's staff are facing difficult and dangerous conditions in carrying out their humanitarian mandate.
In addition to today's incident, UNRWA has suffered 10 casualties since 1992.