Practice Relating to Rule 7. The Principle of Distinction between Civilian Objects and Military Objectives
Section D. Attacks against places of civilian concentration, including schools
In 2010, in a statement before the UN General Assembly on the Palestinian question, the ambassador and permanent representative of Cuba stated:
Over the past year the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, continued to deteriorate. Israel continues to violate international law, human rights and international humanitarian law.
As a result of Israel’s operation “Cast Lead” at the end of 2008 and beginning of 2009, it is estimated that 280 of the 641 schools in Gaza suffered damage and 18 were destroyed
. More than half of the inhabitants of Gaza are under the age of 18 and the interruption to their education as a result of the damage caused during the Operation and as a result of the Israeli blockade is having a devastating effect.
[emphasis in original]
For more than 150 years, the international community has been in agreement that warfare should be made less inhumane, through the rules and principles of international humanitarian law. Civilians should be protected in armed conflict. … However, these rules and principles are challenged and sometimes even ignored. … This is for instance the case in Syria (and Iraq) where … schools are being made the actual targets of warfare. This must stop.