DEPUTY SPOKESMAN FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
MONDAY, 27 APRIL 2015
• The Secretary-General expresses once again his deepest appreciation for the bravery of and outstanding efforts undertaken by UN staff members in Gaza during the course of the conflict. He also welcomes the professionalism displayed by the Board during the course of its work researching and analyzing the events depicted in the report.
• He thanks the chairman, Patrick Cammaert, and its Members for concluding this inquiry. He also appreciates the cooperation provided by the Government of Israel in the course of the Board’s work. The Board also appreciated its reception by the Palestinian Authority and meetings with local authorities in Gaza.
• The Board reviewed and investigated seven incidents involving the loss of 44 Palestinian lives, at least 227 injured or damage at UN facilities. The Board also reviewed three incidents involving weapons found in UNRWA schools, including instances in which Palestinian armed groups may have used UNRWA school premises to launch attacks.
• In his letter to the Security Council transmitting the report, the Secretary-General has expressed his "profound and continuing concern for the civilian population of the Gaza Strip and Israel, and their right to live in peace and security, free from the threat of violence and terrorism".
• Reflecting his personal anguish at this deplorable turn of events, the Secretary-General notes that "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. 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."
• Beyond the report’s contents, it reminds us that there has still been no progress on the critical elements that would secure long-term peace for the people of the region. What is needed now more than ever 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 Beach Camp accord which addressed the much needed Palestinian reconciliation. More importantly, we need to give new momentum to the search for a resolution of the conflict in the Middle East. For this, direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations must resume, and the international community must support the process with full engagement.