WASHINGTON: The United States reacted to Israeli bombing of a UN school in Gaza with an unusual denunciation, saying it has been appalled by the disgraceful shelling on Sunday that claimed lives of another ten Palestinian civilians.
In a statement, Washington also noted that suspicion that militants are operating nearby does not justify strikes that put at risk the lives of so many innocent civilians and urged a prompt probe into the incident.
“The United States is appalled by today’s disgraceful shelling outside an UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency) school in Rafah sheltering some 3,000 displaced persons, in which at least ten more Palestinian civilians were tragically killed, State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki said in a statement.
The statement reflected a departure from usual Washington comments in which officials always reaffirm Israel’s right to self-defense. But on Sunday the State Department pointed out that coordinates of the school,like all UN facilities in Gaza, have been repeatedly communicated to the Israeli Defense Forces.
“We once again stress that Israel must do more to meet its own standards and avoid civilian casualties. UN facilities, especially those sheltering civilians, must be protected, and must not be used as bases from which to launch attacks.
“The suspicion that militants are operating nearby does not justify strikes that put at risk the lives of so many innocent civilians. We call for a full and prompt investigation of this incident as well as the recent shelling of other UNRWA 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, the spokes person added.
The statement comes amid worldwide outcry against Israeli bombardment of Gaza, which is cut off from the world due to illegal Israeli blockade.
On Sunday, a mammoth rally with estimated attendance of over 40,000 Americans outside the White House had appealed for a stronger U.S. stand on stopping the killing of Palestinian civilians in Israeli bombings.
It was not a demonstration by just Muslims, representatives of all faiths were untied in urging a categorical U.S. position on the issue of Israeli bombardment of populated areas — it was an emphatic call that killing of children, women and innocent civilians is unacceptable to Americans, Shehzad Chauhdry, a Pakistani-American activist at the rally said.
Source : APP