Israel has paid a total of 10.5 million dollars for the damage it caused to UN properties in Gaza Strip during its three-week offensive in the Gaza Strip against Hamas last winter. The UN originally demanded 11.2 million dollars to cover seven raids by the Israeli Defense Forces that damaged or destroyed UN premises in Gaza, including schools and offices.
Israel said damage to UN premises was caused unintentionally when its troops responded to Palestinian fire and argued that Hamas operatives fought in, or near UN-protected buildings during the fighting.
A senior Israeli diplomat at the United Nations, who asked not to be named, said, “We have decided to make an ex gratia payment to the United Nations and we have indeed done it.”
UN officials said the compensation related primarily to property since there had been no UN loss of life.
The main damage to UN property in Gaza came on Jan. 15 when Israeli shells hit a compound of the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), badly damaging a warehouse and training center. Several UN-run schools were hit in other strikes.
UNRWA provides aid to Palestinian refugees
UN spokesman Martin Nesirky said, “The final agreement for the payment of 10.5 million dollars closed the dispute between the two sides.”