UN considers asking Israel for compensation money
March 21, 2002


UNITED NATIONS, March 21 The United Nations considered on Thursday asking
Israel for compensation to repair nearly $4 million in damages caused by the
Israeli military in U.N.-run Palestinian refugee camps, a spokesman said.

The U.N. Relief and Workers Agency, UNRWA, which supports the camps, said
Israeli military incursions and the bombing of Gaza City this month would cost
some $3.8 million in immediate repairs to shelter, camp infrastructure and U.N.

       U.N. spokesman Farhan Haq said the world body was ''trying to raise the
question of compensation for damages done.'' He did did not have further
details on how or when this would be done.

       UNRWA said the Israeli Defense Force damaged 22 U.N. schools, four U.N.
health clinics, two U.N. ambulances and four camp service centers. Repairs were
needed to 141 refugee homes that were destroyed and 1,800 shelters that
suffered minor damage, the agency said in a statement.

       This was in addition to the more than 5,000 refugee homes damaged or
destroyed by bulldozing and shelling since September 2000, the start of
Palestinian uprisings against Israeli occupation in the West Bank and the Gaza

       More than 1,200 Palestinians and 360 Israelis have died during the
nearly 18 months of violence. Israel has said it searched the camps for
Palestinian militants and guns.

       UNRWA said its damage assessment did not include funds that would be
needed to cover social and welfare services for households without a
breadwinner, physical rehabilitation for the injured and trauma counseling for
children who witnessed battles in the streets and in their homes.

       At the end of January, UNRWA made an emergency appeal for $117 million
in emergency care for refugees for this year.

       But Peter Hansen, commissioner-general of UNRWA, said that the latest
assault had ''multiplied the burden on UNRWA's scarce resources, not only by
damaging much of our infrastructure and installations, but by creating more
victims of violence and destruction.''