UN: Israeli shelling of Gaza 'disgraces the world'-UPDATED

The United Nations relief agency’s Commissioner General Pierre Krahenbuhl condemned the killing children in their sleep.

UN: Israeli shelling of Gaza 'disgraces the world'-UPDATED

World Bulletin / News Desk

The United Nations has condemned the overnight bombardment of a designated shelter, in which at least 17 civilians were killed, as a "serious violation of international law.”

Speaking in Costa Rica earlier on Wednesday, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned the attack as outrageous and unjustifiable. "It demands accountability and justice," he said. "Nothing is more shameful than attacking sleeping children."

"It is outrageous. It is unjustifiable. And it demands accountability and justice," Ban said.

U.N. Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson said there was nowhere for people to flee the conflict.

"This is a moment where you really have to say 'enough is enough' and you have to search for the right words to convince those who have the power to stop this," Eliasson told reporters at the United Nations.

Israel says it regularly warns residents by phone calls, text messages, leaflets and dud missiles launched on their roofs to warn them in advance of attacks. But Eliasson asked: "Where do they go? There's very few places to go in Gaza."

Senior U.N. aid official John Ging told reporters in New York this was the fifth U.N. school sheltering civilians that had been struck during the 23-day conflict.

"These locations are not safe. Nowhere is safe," Ging said. "They are being told flee areas, get out of areas, but to where? Where should they go?

"If this were a conflict elsewhere in the world they would at least have the option of crossing borders and seeking sanctuary in neighboring countries. They don't have that option," Ging said.


In a statement on Wednesday, the UN relief agency’s Commissioner General Pierre Krahenbuhl said: "Last night, children were killed as they slept next to their parents on the floor of a classroom in a UN designated shelter in Gaza."

“Children killed in their sleep. This is an affront to all of us, a source of universal shame. Today the world stands disgraced."

He added: "I condemn in the strongest possible terms this serious violation of international law by Israeli forces."

The agency’s initial assessment said 3,300 were sheltering in Jabalia Elementary Girls School when it was hit by artillery fire. Dozens were injured in the attack.

Krahenbuhl noted that the Israeli military had been told 17 times that the school was housing displaced civilians, the final time “just hours” before the shelling.

"l call on the international community to take deliberate international political action to put an immediate end to the continuing carnage," Krahenbuhl added.


In the northern Gaza town of Beit Lahiya on Wednesday, Israeli tank shells landed near another U.N.-run school and at least 30 people sheltering inside were wounded by shrapnel and shattered glass, witnesses and hospital officials said.

On Wednesday, the White House voiced worry at the deaths in Jabalya and other U.N.-run shelters shelled during the clashes.

"We are extremely concerned that thousands of internally displaced Palestinians who have been called on by the Israeli military to evacuate their homes are not safe in U.N.-designated shelters in Gaza," said National Security Council spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan.

More than 182,600 people have sought refuge in 82 designated emergency shelters in all five areas of Gaza, the UN said.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 31 Temmuz 2014, 14:06