Israel has agreed to pay the UN around $10m in compensation for damage caused to UN buildings in Gaza during last year's war, according to diplomatic sources.
The payout is the first since Israel's heavily criticised three-week war a year ago in which around 1,400 Palestinians and 13 Israelis were killed. It is also thought to be one of the first times Israel has paid the UN any compensation for damage in the occupied Palestinian territories.
The UN's Office for Legal Affairs, in New York, has been in negotiations with Israeli officials for months over the payment before Ehud Barak, Israel's defence minister, agreed to pay. Some of the damage to UN buildings occurred while Ban-Ki Moon, the UN secretary general, was in meetings with Israeli leaders.
However, there is no sign yet that Israel is ready to pay any other compensation over the war or conduct its own independent inquiry, despite repeated allegations that its military committed war crimes. Immediately after the war the UN commissioned an inquiry into damage to its buildings in Gaza and injuries to its staff. That investigation accused the Israeli military of "negligence or recklessness" and said reparations should be paid, putting the figure at more than $11m.
One of the most serious incidents involving the UN took place on 6 January near a UN boys' prep school in Jabaliya being used as a shelter. The Israeli military fired several 120mm mortar rounds in the “immediate vicinity” of the school, killing between 30 and 40 people. Although Israel at the time insisted Hamas had fired mortars from within the school, the UN inquiry found this was untrue.