Friday, January 22, 2010

Israel pays U.N. $10.5 million over Gaza damage

And who's paying damages to Israeli citizens hurt by terror attacks? Those carried out by employees of the UN in Gaza?

What exactly do these kids learn at UN funded schools?

Israel pays U.N. $10.5 million over Gaza damage
Israel has paid the United Nations $10.5 million for property damage and injuries the world body suffered during Israel's attack on Gaza a year ago, a U.N. spokesman and Israeli diplomats said on Friday.

"With this payment, the United Nations has agreed that the financial issues relating to those incidents ... are concluded," spokesman Martin Nesirky told reporters.

A senior Israeli diplomat at the United Nations, who asked not to be named, said, "We have decided to make an ex gratia (without liability) payment to the United Nations and we have indeed done it."

"It has to do specifically with damages done to the United Nations," whose Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) cares for Palestinian refugees in Gaza and elsewhere in the Middle East, the diplomat said. He and Nesirky both quoted the figure of $10.5 million.

U.N. officials said the world body had made claims for damage done during previous Israeli military operations, but they believed this was the first time Israel had paid.

A U.N. inquiry last year put the cost of damage to seven U.N. buildings in Gaza during the December 2008-January 2009 conflict at $11.2 million, almost all of it caused by Israeli forces. Loss adjusters hired by the U.N. subsequently reduced that by $750,000, Nesirky said.


The main damage to U.N. property in Gaza came on January 15, 2009, when Israeli shells, some containing the incendiary substance white phosphorus, hit an UNRWA compound, badly damaging a warehouse and training center. Several U.N.-run schools were hit in other strikes.

Israel said it attacked Gaza to end rocket launches by Palestinian Hamas militants into Israel, and that damage to U.N. premises was caused unintentionally when its troops responded to Palestinian fire.

The Jewish state, however, agreed to consider a U.N. reimbursement request sent in July. Nesirky said that claim related both to the property damage and to minor injuries suffered by 11 U.N. employees.

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