Israel to compensate U.N. over Gaza damages
Israel has agreed in principle to reimburse losses the United Nations suffered during the Gaza Strip war a year ago, a U.N. spokesman said on Thursday. According to Reuters, Spokesman Martin Nesirky declined to give a figure or other details of the accord. A U.N. mission last year estimated the cost of damage to U.N. property in Gaza during the conflict at over $11 million.
Another U.N. official said $10.5 million was "the figure that has been bandied about, but nothing has been finalized."
"Agreement has been reached in principle on the terms of an arrangement under which Israel would make a payment to the United Nations," Nesirky stated. The United Nations is awaiting a "green light" from the Israeli side on the deal and expects it "imminently," he said. "When that green light is given, an agreement will be formalized between the United Nations and Israel and a payment will be made."
According to Nesirky, the issue had come up during a telephone conversation on Tuesday between U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak. U.N. officials said the compensation related primarily to property. The main damage to U.N. property in the Strip came on Jan. 15 when Israeli shells hit a compound of the U.N. Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA).