Failure to respect UNRWA neutrality and inviolability of schools in the West Bank

12 December 2022


On 5 December, Israeli Security Forces forcibly entered the premises of an UNRWA girls’ school in the Bethlehem area of the West Bank. They also attempted to forcibly enter an UNRWA boys’ school nearby.  The integrity of the schools was further compromised during clashes between Israeli Security Forces inside the school and Palestinians outside.  

As a result, one Palestine refugee man was killed by live ammunition and several others were injured in front of the UNRWA girls’ school. Education services in the area were stopped for the day to protect the safety and security of Palestine refugee children. 

UNRWA protested to the relevant Israeli authorities over the breach of its installation. UNRWA issued a separate protest to the Palestinian authorities for throwing of stones and ammunition liquid into UNRWA premises. The Agency is currently repairing the damage to the school. 

UNRWA reiterates its call on all parties to respect the neutrality and inviolability of United Nations premises at all times. Breaches of this inviolability are not only very serious violations of UN privileges and immunities, they can also impede the ability of UNRWA to deliver services to Palestine refugees, placing refugees  and staff at risk.  


Background Information: 

UNRWA is the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East.

The United Nations General Assembly established UNRWA in 1949 with a mandate to provide humanitarian assistance and protection to registered Palestine refugees in the Agency’s area of operations pending a just and lasting solution to their plight.

UNRWA operates in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, The Gaza Strip, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria. 

Tens of thousands of Palestine refugees who lost their homes and livelihoods due to  the 1948 conflict continue to be displaced and in need of support, nearly 75 years on.

UNRWA helps Palestine Refugees achieve their full potential in human development through quality services it provides in education, health care, relief and social services, protection, camp infrastructure and improvement, microfinance, and emergency assistance. UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions.

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