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Wednesday, January 07, 2009

UNRWA lies, denies terrorists' presence in Jabalya school

UNRWA has rejected an IDF investigation that concluded that terrorists were present in the Jabalya school in which 30-40 civilians were allegedly killed on Tuesday.
United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) spokesman Chris Gunness said terrorists are not allowed in its schools, and he demanded an "impartial" probe into IDF reports that Hamas shot mortars next to a school. He said he did not know off hand what constitutes an impartial body.

"If there have been violations on either side, we want those responsible brought to justice," he told Israel National News. He added that he cannot comment on the IDF report that it shelled a UNRWA school because terrorists were attacking soldiers with mortars from within the building.

"Allegations that UNRWA facilities are used by militants are always investigated and we will cooperate so our name can be cleared," Gunness stated.


He also said he wants proof of the IDF claim that terrorists were killed in the shelling.
Asked about the October 2007 incident in which video evidence (link includes video) was presented that terrorists were shooting mortars from a UNRWA schoolyard, Gunness had this to say:
Concerning the 2007 video of mortar attacks from a school in the northern Gaza town of Beit Hanoun, Gunness explained that the terrorists entered after the building was deserted. The UN had evacuated children and teachers because of an Israel military operation and terrorists moved in afterwards, he added. "We did not open the doors" for them.

Gunness also said that the UNRWA teacher who was discovered to be a rocket manufacturer in his off hours was sacked and that his family did not receive pensions that usually are granted to workers.
But the terrorists wouldn't have to be in the school to expose the school to danger and to effectively use those inside it as human shields. Consider this report from al-Ap (Hat Tip: Hot Air):
Two residents of the area who spoke by telephone said they saw a small group of militants firing mortar rounds from a street near the school, where 350 people had gathered to get away from the shelling. They spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal.


An Israeli military statement said it received intelligence that the dead at the girls school included Hamas operatives, among them members of a rocket launching cell. It identified two of them as Imad Abu Askar and Hassan Abu Askar.

Two residents who spoke to an AP reporter by phone said the two brothers were known to be low-level Hamas militants. They said a group of militants — one of them said four — were firing mortar shells from near the school.

An Israeli shell targeted the men, but missed and they fled, the witnesses said, refusing to allow their names to be published because they feared for their safety. Then another three shells landed nearby, exploding among civilians, they said.

Palestinian militants have frequently fired from residential areas in the past.
Israel's history with UNRWA goes back much longer than October 2007. Let's take one example: Jenin 2002. But first, if you have not done so in the last 24 hours, please vote for Israel Matzav as Best Midsize blog in the 2008 Weblog Awards by going here.

Now, on to Jenin. Here's what UNRWA had to say about it after the dust settled:
In the early hours of 3 April 2002, as part of Operation Defensive Shield, the Israeli Defence Forces entered the city of Jenin and the refugee camp adjacent to it, declared them a closed military area, prevented all access, and imposed a round-the-clock curfew. By the time of the IDF withdrawal and the lifting of the curfew on 18 April, at least 52 Palestinians, of whom up to half may have been civilians, and 23 Israeli soldiers were dead. Many more were injured. Approximately 150 buildings had been destroyed and many others were rendered structurally unsound. Around 435 families were rendered homeless.
But that's not what UNRWA had to say right after the battle.
Peter Hansen, the commissioner-general of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) told a Danish newspaper, the Internatavisen Jyllands-Posten, on April 19, that 300-400 Palestinians had been killed in Jenin. He told CNN: "I had, first of all, hoped the horror stories coming out were exaggerations as you often hear in this part of the world, but they were all too true" (CNN, April 19, 2002). CNN correspondent Rula Amin gave her own impressions of "a lot of destruction, a lot of devastation" (CNN, April 17, 2002).
And what really happened in Jenin? First of all, there was no massacre:
As of May 1, there were 54 bodies found in Jenin -- not 500 [as claimed by Saeb Erekat of the 'Palestinian Authority' or 300-400 as claimed by UNRWA. CiJ] -- according to Israeli military sources. Palestinian officials, on the ground, now verify the Israeli numbers: Mousa Kadoura, director of Yasser Arafat's Fatah organization for the northern West Bank, claims 56 Palestinians died in Jenin (Washington Times, May 1, 2002). Foreign Minister Shimon Peres has stated that only seven civilian casualties have been identified (Israel Foreign Ministry Press Release, April 20, 2002). These limited Palestinian casualties were due to the fact that Israel did not employ massive air strikes or artillery barrages in Jenin, but rather sent its vulnerable ground forces to engage in house-to-house combat. As a result, Israel lost 23 soldiers in the battle. Essentially, Israeli soldiers lost their lives in order to keep the collateral deaths of Palestinian civilians to a minimum.
And how did those 'Palestinians' die?
Palestinians admit that they employed large amounts of explosive devices in Jenin. There were booby-trapped buildings and explosive devices configured as anti-personnel mines. Captured Islamic Jihad operative Tabeat Mardawi told CNN that 1,000-2,000 explosive devices had been prepared. An Islamic Jihad bomb-maker from Jenin told Al-Ahram Weekly: "We had more than 50 houses booby-trapped around the camp" (MEMRI, April 24, 2002).

Still, the level of destruction was limited. Out of 1,896 buildings in the Jenin refugee camp, 130 buildings were destroyed -- or less than 10 percent (Israel Defense Forces -- Central Command). According to Fatah activist Mousa Kadoura, the area affected was the size of a large football field (Washington Times, May 1, 2002). Moreover, because of the large amounts of Palestinian explosives in the camp, it is difficult to discern what component of this destruction was caused by Israeli forces and what part was a result of Palestinian detonation.
Could UNRWA be lying again? Bet on it.


UNRWA is now 'only' 99.9% sure.
Christopher Gunness of the UN Relief and Works Agency, responsible for the school, said the agency was "99.9 percent certain there were no militants or military activity in its school."
But here's the amazing part: an unbiased piece of reporting by Al-AP:
That would not necessarily contradict Israel's claim that the militants were just outside.


Two residents of the area who spoke with The Associated Press by telephone said they saw a small group of terrorists firing mortar rounds from a street near the school. They spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal. Gunness said 1,300 people were taking shelter from the shelling at the school.
If there were 1,300 people in the school and Israel had targeted it, you can bet that a lot more than 30-40 would have been killed.


At 1:48 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Defund the UNRWA. This should be a Bush executive order binding the government from giving any more money to this useless institution. Give all money earmarked for the UNRWA directly to the refugee commission, and ask them to start resettling the 'palis'.

UNRWA is complicit and should be brought up on war crimes for enabling terrorists to use its facilities in a proscribed manner, purposefully committing war crimes in furtherance of one groups military actions. Get arrest warrants going for all UNRWA personnel, junior and senior. Raid their offices, confiscate their documents, file charges against them in Israel, in the US, in Europe.

The UNRWA is part of the problem.

At 2:08 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

Kranky, the Palestinians are on UN welfare and the UN is their biggest constituency. So the bias goes to money as well plain old fashioned anti-Semitism and the old double standard applied only to Israel. Nothing new here.

At 2:39 PM, Blogger heroyalwhyness said...

Shouldn't the number of Palestinians on UNRWA dole reflect/confirm the casualties?

Jihad Watch: Fitzgerald: UNRWA and the “Palestinian” “refugees”
UNRWA is corrupt and corrupting. It is a crock, a disgusting, if so far successful, effort to monopolize the attention and money of the U.N. and the soi-disant “international community” for the sake of the Jihad against Israel. No one ever dies, practically, who has ever been on the UNRWA rolls. . . .”And all kinds of local Arabs, who never lived in, and therefore never left, “Palestine” — in Lebanon, in Jordan, in other places — all saw the UNRWA gravy-train and signed right up as that shape-shifting thing, “refugees.”

At 2:49 PM, Blogger heroyalwhyness said...

Quote: "UNRWA is now 'only' 99.9% sure. "

Surely, the UNRWA currently operates or sponsors over 900 installations with some 29,000 staff throughout its area of operations . . .there must be some employed with the ability to add and subtract?

At 3:00 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

They are all Arabs and all of UNRWA's figures unreliable, inflated and padded. That along with other lies its been caught in, makes it a suspect source of information. And yes, they would would lie about what went on in a school... considering who it employs in violation of UN neutrality. As we all know, when it comes to Israel, the pretense of neutrality is what the UN abandons. Every time.

At 9:59 PM, Blogger JonP said...

Defund the UNRWA? Just frickin defund the UN period! Useless bunch of idiots. Yeah we're so much more effective than the League of Nations, we pass resolutions! F'in idiots.

At 1:19 AM, Blogger les hardie said...

Israel needs to utterly crush Hamas so everyone, especially Hamas supporters, knows who won and who lost. Losing decisively is necessary before warlike people can begin to act like civilized members of a civilized state. Cease-fires prevent the losers from losing and encourage them to try again. Only a devastating defeat for Hamas will protect Israel and open up the possibility for real peace. If the "world community" didn't learn this about WW2, they didn't learn anything. If there had been a cease-fire during WW2, Parisians would still be eating weinerschnitzel.


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