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Wednesday, 4 December, 2002, 04:50 GMT
Israel 'threatens lives of UN workers'
Iain Hook's UN identification card
Mr Hook was killed by an Israeli soldier
A group of United Nations workers has signed a petition calling on the Israeli Government to hold its army to account over their lives and well-being.


We're very concerned that if no-one is held to account more UN workers will be killed

Kerstin
Aid worker
The rare show of public anger by the aid workers follows the killing of a British colleague by troops in the West Bank town of Jenin nearly two weeks ago.

"For two years, United Nations staff have been subject to escalating harassment and violence by Israel's military, so that the protection supposed to be afforded by the blue letters of the UN is being steadily eroded," said the petition, which was released in Gaza.

A UN worker, named only as Kerstin, told the BBC that she and her colleagues feared more of them would die if no action was taken.

'Physical harassment'

Iain Hook was shot by an Israeli sniper as he negotiated the evacuation of Palestinian civilians and staff from a UN compound in Jenin on 22 November.

Palestinian boys at the ruins of a UNRWA school in Jenin
Mr Hook worked for UNRWA in Jenin
Mr Hook died on his way to hospital. Doctors said he had two gunshot wounds in the abdomen.

The UN has already expressed serious concerns about the killing and accused Israel of delaying an ambulance which was trying to reach the man - possibly preventing his life being saved.

In an interview with the BBC, Kerstin said she and her co-workers often suffered harassment - both verbal and physical - by members of the Israeli military.

She also said that UN property and infrastructure had been destroyed by the military, who would also regularly search UN vehicles.

"We're very concerned that if no one is held to account more UN workers will be killed," she said.

"We are here as humanitarians. We have absolutely no desire to become victims ourselves."

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Kirsten, UN worker
"We experience regular harrasment"

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27 Nov 02 | Middle East
25 Nov 02 | Middle East
23 Nov 02 | Middle East
23 Nov 02 | Middle East
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