Statement about the discovery of military items in an UNRWA school in Gaza

22 April 2020

Yesterday, in the course of the regular inspection of its premises, UNRWA discovered a hand grenade and a military vest hidden in a vacant school in the Gaza Strip. As soon as the items were discovered, they were removed and UNRWA informed the de facto authorities in Gaza and in Israel. UNRWA strongly and unequivocally condemns the individual or group responsible for this flagrant violation of the inviolability of its premises under international law and calls on the de facto authorities in the Gaza Strip to ensure that this inviolability is respected and upheld.

UNRWA has reinforced and continues to implement its robust procedures to maintain the neutrality of all its premises, including a strict no-weapons policy and regular inspections of its installations, to ensure they are only used for humanitarian purposes.  Due to its funding crisis, UNRWA can no longer afford to have guards at its 276 schools but carries out routine inspections.

Palestine refugees in Gaza need UNRWA to provide humanitarian assistance and critical services. At all times, and especially during exceptional circumstances like this period, the sanctity and integrity of UN installations must be respected. The use of schools for military purposes is strictly prohibited under international humanitarian law.

For more information, please contact:

Tamara Alrifai
UNRWA Spokesperson
+962 (0)79 090 0140