US, UK ‘Appalled’ By Shelling Near UNRWA School


israel-strike-rafah-gazaUS State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki delivered an unusually strong condemnation of an Israeli strike near a Gaza school being used as a shelter in Rafah, saying that the US was “appalled” by the “disgraceful shelling outside an UNRWA school.”

The shelling, which left 10 people dead according to Palestinian reports, drew harsh condemnations worldwide, including from the United Nations, London and elsewhere, amid growing international criticism of the 27-day-long operation.

The IDF issued a statement saying that forces had targeted three Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorists on board a motorcycle in vicinity of an UNRWA school in Rafah, and added that “the IDF is reviewing the consequences of this strike.”

However, the US said that the presence of combatants did not justify targeting areas near the school.

“The suspicion that militants are operating nearby does not justify strikes that put at risk the lives of so many innocent civilians,” Psaki said.

The US statement noted that the school was, at the time, sheltering some 3,000 displaced persons, and that “at least 10 more Palestinian civilians were tragically killed.” Although the statement noted that the shells struck outside of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees school, Harf’s statement grouped the incident together with other strikes at UN facilities.

“The coordinates of the school, like all UN facilities in Gaza, have been repeatedly communicated to the Israeli Defense Forces,” the statement emphasized.

“UN facilities, especially those sheltering civilians, must be protected, and must not be used as bases from which to launch attacks,” Psaki said.

Psaki reiterated previous calls for “full and prompt investigations” of shelling at or around UNRWA facilities and said that “Israel must do more to meet its own standards and avoid civilian casualties.”

According to UNRWA officials, their facilities are currently sheltering some 250,000 Gazans seeking to flee active combat zones. Israel has been accused of hitting some UN facilities during the almost month-long escalation in Gaza, but UNRWA officials have also acknowledged that rockets were discovered stored in at least three of the organization’s schools.

“We continue to underscore that all parties must take all feasible precautions to prevent civilian casualties and protect the civilian population and comply with international humanitarian law,” Psaki said.

Read more: The Times of Israel



  1. There is no question that the harsh U.S. response is in direct retaliation for Netanyahu’s blunt public statement to President Obama “Never second guess me again”. While events have r”l unfortunately shown Netanyahu to be correct, he probably should be more circumspect (at least publicly) toward a president and administration that has been quick to take umbrage at Israel in the past. Like it or not, the U.S. is the only major world player to strongly support Israel during this war and we need that continued support.

  2. Please look at the following quote from the UNITED KINGDOM MANUAL OF THE LAW OF ARMED CONFLICT “Even where human shields are being used, the proportionality rule must be considered. However, if the defenders put civilians or civilian objects at risk by placing military objectives in their midst or by placing
    civilians in or near military objectives, this is a factor to be taken into account in favour of the attackers in considering the legality of attacks on those objectives.”

  3. I just clicked on the BBC report on ‘the latest attack on a UN school sheltering refugees’.

    But then if you actually watch the video, the rocket did NOT hit the school. It was aimed at and hit a house opposite the school. People actually inside the school were ok, it was those sheltering from the shade under a tree OUTSIDE the school that got injured or killed from shrapnel.

    Why are the BBC reporting and the UN condemning an attack on a UN school that according to their own report did not target or hit that school?

    If that’s not biased reporting, I don’t know what is!

  4. why are they not appalled by
    1) hamas continued bombing into isreal
    2) hamas taking money that was to be used for building, was used to make terror tunnels
    3) the actual terror tunnels being made
    that obama took weeks to say anything and then hours after they were found murdered
    and one was an american
    he was quick to talk about american citizen safety when the plane was shot down over the ukraine but american boys in israel count for what?

  5. who knows maybe it is the hamas rockets that misfired again falling short of their objective, since reporters are threatened that they can not tell the truth or show pictures of the truth no one really knows. Maybe some of the bodies have died already and they are dying a few more times to keep the count up.

  6. The UN and the US are just inviting Hamas to place all their rocket launchers in schools and hospitals. The UN and US are creating a win/win situation for Hamas. Either Israel doesn’t remove Hamas rocket launchers from schools and hospitals and Hamas wins. Or Israel removes the rocket launchers and kills civilians in the process, and Hamas wins the PR war. The UN and especially the US must make it clear that anytime Hamas launches rockets from civilian areas, HAMAS will be considered responsible for deaths that result when Israel returns fire to remove the rocket launchers.

  7. Thank you Etzhar. Every condemnation from the White House will condemn more children. Hamas will, based on these condemnations, make sure that children will always be present and at risk.
    For them it’s a win-win situation.