by WorldTribune Staff, June 13, 2017
Hamas constructed an “attack tunnel” underneath two Gaza Strip schools that are run by the UN Relief and Works Administration (UNRWA), a report said.
After the discovery, Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon urged the UN Security Council to openly rebuke Hamas.
“The latest finding verifies once again that Hamas’s cruelty knows no limits, including endangering centers of learning and education, and using children as human shields,” Danon said, according to the Times of Israel. “I call on the Security Council to strongly and unequivocally condemn Hamas and its repeated abuse of civilian infrastructure, and designate this group as a terrorist organization.”
The tunnel was found under the Maghazi Elementary Boys A&B School and the Maghazi Preparatory Boys School in the Gaza Strip while the two schools were under construction, Fox News reported on June 12.
Hamas has built an extensive network of tunnels in and out of Gaza, some of which extend into Israeli territory and have been used for terror attacks.
The tunnel beneath the UNRWA schools was apparently discovered June 1, but the news was not widely reported until June 9 when the organization’s spokesman, Chris Gunness, issued a statement condemning the tunnel.
“It is unacceptable that students and staff are placed at risk in such a way,” Gunness said. “The construction and presence of tunnels under UN premises are incompatible with the respect of privileges and immunities owed to the United Nations under applicable international law, which provides that UN premises shall be inviolable. The sanctity and neutrality of UN premises must be preserved at all times.”
UNRWA was founded in 1949 to aid Palestinians who fled when Arab armies invaded the new State of Israel in 1948. It is controversial for several reasons, among them its decision to list as refugees not only those who fled but also their descendants, a unique policy that is not followed anywhere else in the world, the Fox News report said.
In an article for The Tower, Asaf Romirowsky said that UNRWA has since become all but indistinguishable from the Palestinian national cause.
“Today, it is essentially a massive social welfare system serving millions of Palestinians, primarily in the West Bank, Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan,” he wrote. “At the same time, its activities go well beyond simple humanitarianism. It plays a distinctly political role in Palestinian society, working to further the cause of Palestinian nationalism through politicized education, activism, anti-Israel propaganda, and other activities.”
UNRWA has also been accused of colluding with terrorists.
“UNRWA has taken very few steps to detect and eliminate terrorists from the ranks of its staff or its beneficiaries,” James Lindsay, a former UNRWA official, said in a 2009 report, “and no steps at all to prevent members of terrorist organizations, such as Hamas, from joining its staff.”