Ban says U.N. will investigate weaponry in its Gaza agencies


JERUSALEM (JTA) — United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said an independent board will look into the shelling of U.N. agencies during the Gaza conflict as well as instances in which weaponry was found on U.N. premises.

Ban, briefing the Security Council on Tuesday about his recent visit to Gaza in the wake of this summer’s 50-day conflict there, also questioned the “proportionality” of Israel’s response to rockets fired from the coastal strip.

“Nothing could have prepared me for what I witnessed in Gaza,” he told the council. “I saw mile after mile of wholesale destruction.”

More than 100,000 residents of Gaza remain homeless with over 50,000 sheltering in U.N.-run school buildings, according to the United Nations.

Ban also visited the family of a 4-year-old Israeli boy killed by a Hamas rocket, as well as a tunnel dug by Hamas from Gaza to southern Israel.

During the Gaza operation, weapons stockpiles were found in three U.N. schools in Gaza.

“I fully understand the security threat to Israel from rockets above and tunnels below,” he said. “At the same time, the scale of the destruction in Gaza has left deep questions about proportionality.”

Ban called for “long-term stability in Gaza,” which he said requires “addressing the underlying causes of the conflict: an end to the occupation that has grinded on for nearly half a century, a full lifting of the blockade on the Gaza Strip and effectively addressing Israel’s legitimate security concerns.”

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