Cache of rockets found in UN school in Gaza

29 July 2014

Jerusalem

A cache of rockets was found earlier today at an UNRWA school in central Gaza. The discovery came during a regular UNRWA inspection of the school, which was closed for the summer and not being used as a shelter. All the relevant parties have been notified.

“We condemn the group or groups who endangered civilians by placing these munitions in our school”, said UNRWA Spokesperson, Chris Gunness. “This is yet another flagrant violation of the neutrality of our premises. We call on all the warring parties to respect the inviolability of UN property.”

Because of fighting in the vicinity of the school we have been unable to get a UN munitions expert to the school, but we hope to do as soon as the security conditions allow.

Afternote

UNRWA Nuseirat Preparatory Co-educational “B” School on 29 July 2014

The Secretary-General convened a UN HQ Board of Inquiry (BOI) on 10 November 2014 in order to investigate a number of incidents between 8 July and 26 August 2014 affecting or involving United Nations personnel, premises and operations, including the report of the presence of weaponry at this school. The Secretary-General released a summary of the BOI report on 27 April 2015 (S/2015/286).  The summary indicates that the items found were not rockets; the Board found that on 29 July a 120 mm mortar tube, a 120 mm mortar bipod and three 120 mm mortar containers were found.

Background Information

UNRWA is confronted with an increased demand for services resulting from a growth in the number of registered Palestine refugees, the extent of their vulnerability and their deepening poverty. UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions and financial support has been outpaced by the growth in needs. As a result, the UNRWA Programme Budget, which supports the delivery of core essential services, operates with a large shortfall,  projected for 2016 to stand at US$ 96.5 million. UNRWA encourages all Member States to work collectively to exert all possible efforts to fully fund the Agency’s Programme Budget. UNRWA emergency programmes and key projects, also operating with large shortfalls, are funded through separate funding portals.

UNRWA is a United Nations agency established by the General Assembly in 1949 and mandated to provide assistance and protection to some 5 million registered Palestine refugees. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank and the Gaza Strip achieve their full human development potential, pending a just and lasting solution to their plight. UNRWA services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, protection and microfinance.

For more information, please contact:

Christopher Gunness
Spokesperson, Director of Advocacy & Strategic Communications
Mobile: 
+972 (0)54 240 2659
Office: 
+972 (0)2 589 0267
Sami Mshasha
Chief of Communications, Arabic Language Spokesperson
Mobile: 
+972 (0)54 216 8295
Office: 
+972 (0)2 589 0724