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4 August 2014
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY VANINNA MAESTRACCI, ASSOCIATE SPOKESMAN FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
MONDAY, 4 AUGUST 2014
SECRETARY-GENERAL STRONGLY CONDEMNS VIOLENCE IN GAZA AND UPSURGE IN ANTI-SEMITIC ATTACKS
he Secretary-General has strongly
the killing of at least 10 Palestinian civilians in shelling outside of a school in Rafah, run by the UN Relief and Works Agency (
) that was providing shelter to thousands of civilians. The attack is yet another gross violation of international humanitarian law, which clearly requires protection by both parties of Palestinian civilians, UN staff and UN premises, among other civilian facilities.
The Secretary-General made clear that UN shelters must be safe zones not combat zones. He said that this attack, along with other breaches of international law, must be swiftly investigated and those responsible held accountable.
Pierre Krähenbühl, the Commissioner General of UNRWA, said that the incident in Rafah is a further tragic and unacceptable reminder that there is nowhere safe in
for people to take refuge. No one feels secure and given that Gaza is enclosed by a barrier, there is also nowhere safe for them to run.
Mr. Krähenbühl reminded the parties that they must respect the sanctity of civilian life, the inviolability of UN property and that they must abide their obligations under international humanitarian law to protect civilians and humanitarian workers.
The Secretary-General also
the recent upsurge in anti-Semitic attacks, particularly in Europe, in connection with protests concerning the escalation of violence in Gaza.
The Secretary-General emphasizes that the conflict in the Middle East must not constitute a pretext for prejudice that could affect social peace and harmony anywhere. He firmly believes that the conflict needs to be solved through an immediate cessation of violence and negotiations.
Senior UN humanitarian officials in Gaza have warned that a health disaster of widespread proportions is rapidly unfolding there as a direct result of the conflict. After more than three weeks of intense conflict, Gaza’s medical services and facilities are on the verge of collapse.
One third of hospitals, 14 primary health care clinics and 29 Palestinian Red Crescent and Ministry of Health ambulances have been damaged in the fighting. At least 40 per cent of medical staff are unable to get to their places of work, such as clinics and hospitals, due to widespread violence and at least half of all public health primary care clinics are closed.
The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (
said that, according to preliminary data, at least 1,777 Palestinians have been killed. Of that number, 1,242 people are civilians, including 393 children and 208 women. More than 8,000 Palestinians have been injured. Also, a total of 66 Israelis have been killed, including two civilians and 64 soldiers. One foreign national has also been killed in Israel.