Richard Melson

December 2005

Israel National News

Terrorists Using UNRWA Schools for Rallies

Hamas terrorists are using United Nations schools and office to stage rallies,

according to the Israel Resource News Agency, headed by journalist David Bedein.

The U.N., through UNRWA (U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees), is supposed to serve humanitarian needs for Arabs in the Gaza area, but "there have been instances of Hamas rallies on the school grounds of UNRWA schools," said Arlene Kushner, who works with Bedein.

U.N. officials denied the accusations.

Speaking at a conference of United Nations correspondents, Bedein said his investigations raised questions about a "moral code" at UNRWA.

Kushner reported that a school organized by the relief agency held a service commemorating the death of an Islamic Jihad terrorist killed by the IDF.

She added that UNRWA intentionally keeps tension high in villages where it operates.

Sa'ahir Lone Sr., UNRWA liaison officer, declared that the agency does not support any political ideology. "We're there to make sure they (the refugees) are not hungry and that their human development needs are taken care of," he said.

UNRWA is a separate agency dealing only with Arabs in Israel as opposed to the U.N. High Commission for Refugees which handles problems of other people throughout the world. The High Commission employs people from all nationalities but the UNRWA staff of 25,000 is made up only local Palestinian Authority (PA) Arabs.

UNRWA argues that almost all of its labor force includes teachers, nurses and other professionals familiar with the local culture whereas the High Commission has a large staff of international staff members.

The agency's yearly budget is $400 million and will more than double in the next two years, according to the Palestinian Authority (PA) information services.

The agency's Liaison Officer Maher Nasser warned that eliminating the agency, as several American Congressman have suggested, would have severe political ramifications. U.N. Undersecretary-General for Political Affairs Ibrahim Gambari, from Nigeria, stated that UNRWA is needed to maintain stability in the Gaza area.

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Published: 18:08 December 10, 2005
Last Update: 18:24 December 10, 2005

Arutz Sheva

Israel National News

December 10, 2005