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Israel Pays UN for Gaza War Damage


A Palestinian family walks past the rubble of a mosque that was destroyed during Israel's offensive on the Gaza Strip, in al-Zaitoun neighbourhood of Gaza City in 2009. Israel has paid the United Nations some 10.5 million dollars in damages following its assault on the Gaza Strip last year, UN officials said Friday. (AFP/File/Mohammed Abed)

has paid $10.5m to the United Nations for property damage and injuries
the world body suffered during Israel's war on Gaza a year ago,
officials have said.

"With this payment, the United Nations has agreed that the financial
issues relating to those incidents ... are concluded," Martin Nesirky,
a UN spokesman, said on Friday.

senior Israeli diplomat at the UN, speaking on condition of anonymity,
said: "We have decided to make an ex gratia [without liability] payment
to the United Nations and we have indeed done it."

A total of 53 installations used by the United Nations Relief and
Works agency were damaged or destroyed during Israel's Gaza campaign
including 37 schools, six health centres, and two warehouses.

Aid destroyed

The main damage to UN property came on January 15 when Israeli
shells hit a UN compound, setting fire to a warehouse and destroying
badly-needed food and medical aid.

UN officials say they have evidence that white phosphorous, a
smokescreen agent that can cause severe burns, was used in the
attack that left three people injured.

Israel said Hamas fighters had used the compound to launch attacks on its forces but later apologised for the incident.

A UN inquiry last year put the cost of damage to seven UN buildings
in Gaza during the 22-day assault at $11.2m, almost all of it caused by
Israeli forces.

Loss adjusters hired by the UN subsequently reduced that by $750,000, Nesirky said.

Nesirky said the UN's compensation claims related both to the property damage and to minor injuries suffered by 11 employees.

Israel's onslaught on Gaza killed more than 1,400 Palestinians and
left much of the territory in ruins. A total of 13 Israelis were killed
during the conflict.


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