Terror tunnels found under UNRWA schools in the Gaza Strip correlate with the real goals of the organization: the perpetuation of Palestinian refugee status and the destruction of Israel
For the second time in two months, a terrorist dug tunnel was discovered under an UNRWA school in the Gaza Strip. This time the tunnel was constructed by the Islamic Jihad. Just this past June, two additional Hamas terrorist tunnels were once again discovered under UNRWA schools. Israelis certainly recall the missile warehouses Hamas concealed in the UNRWA school during operation “Protective Edge” in Gaza. Hamas chooses this attractive location because it knows that Israel will not attack UN facilities, and UNRWA cooperates with this without taking into account the danger they pose to the children.
Immediately after the discovery of the tunnel, UNRWA staff closed the school for a few days, but the UN and the countries that transfer funds to the organization continue to bury their heads in the sand, amid the piles of Hamas excavations. The same excavations that undermine the existence of the State of Israel.
Over the years, UNRWA has become a human shield for terrorist activity, and the truth is that we are no longer surprised: UNRWA was established in 1950 to serve as a temporary organization until the Palestinian refugee problem is resolved. But instead of solving the problem, all the organization did was preserve and increase it by granting refugee status to all descendants of those living in Palestine. Yes, even to the grandson of the grandson of the grandfather who once lived in the area.
This definition is not valid in any other case of refugees in the world except the Palestinians. In the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), which treats all the other refugees in the world, the number of refugees diminishes over time. UNRWA provides only humanitarian relief and enjoys a unique right as it is the only UN agency reporting to the UN General Assembly; The mandate of the General Refugee Agency, on the other hand, is to provide international protection to all refugees and seek a permanent solution with the help of governments. It allows refugees from all over the world a number of options for a solution – absorption in the country in which they reside; Re-absorption in a third country willing to receive them; Return to their country of origin. The problem is that the first two options are rejected by the Arab states, and the third option is not accepted by Israel, which has absorbed more than a million Jewish refugees from Arab countries and resettled them in Israel.
As stated, the definition of UNRWA causes the number of refugees to increase over time, and their solution to return all the descendants of Palestinians to the State of Israel means the elimination of the Jewish state. All the funds transferred to them serves this purpose. The organization employs close to 30,000 workers, and the funding it receives amounts to more than $ 1 billion a year – money flowing from the United States, Europe, Saudi Arabia, Japan and more.
The Donations keep the Conflict Alive
Under the auspices of this organization, which enjoys the backing of the United Nations, exists a terror network designed to harm the State of Israel whether under the ground, or through the incitement of hateful teaching materials in the organization’s schools – more than 700 schools that continue to teach about the right of return and the legacy of the martyrs.
The Center for Near East Policy Research, which researches the core issues of the Arab-Israeli conflict, has published several in-depth studies on UNRWA in the past, reporting that an UNRWA food distribution center in the Gaza Strip “is decorated with murals of Israeli ships exploding and burnt jeeps”. In an UNRWA elementary school for boys, the walls of the classrooms were decorated with posters praising suicide bombers.
Maj. Gen. (ret.) Yoni Figel, the former military governor in the territories, testified in 2002 that UNRWA workers were Hamas activists, adding that “UNRWA camps have become the center of terrorist activity. And weapons, and the camps (as well as UNRWA facilities) are used to hide terrorists and weapons. The camps provide a safe haven for the terrorists from the outside, while the residents of the camps themselves are involved in terror activities.”
UNRWA has turned a blind eye to all this, especially during the years of increasing Hamas’ power in Gaza. UNRWA’s position in recent years is that it is not responsible for, and has no control over, the camps but only its own facilities, and since it does not have a police force, it can not supervise the situation.
This answer is not sufficient at all. UNRWA contributed to the promotion of a Hamas-Islamist-Jihadist ideology in the schools it runs, and UNRWA school staff in Gaza are affiliated with Islamist organizations. There are Hamas events in the UNRWA schools that praise the martyrs and the Jihad, sometimes with the involvement of UNRWA teachers.
The organization turned a blind eye to the existence of these events and even acted to conceal them, in part because of the fear that international awareness of what was going on in UNRWA facilities would reduce donations from countries around the world, primarily the United States and Europe.
So far, the organization has been tenaciously nurturing four generations of refugees, and the numbers are growing from year to year. The countries of the world must wake up and bring it to an end. The vast amounts that they transfer to UNRWA only preserve the conflict, and do not resolve it.
(Translated from Mida.org.il Hebrew)
Lital Shemesh is an Israeli Journalist and Commentator
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