MK to UN chief: UNRWA a 'shield for terrorism and hatred'

Arye Eldad tells 'Post' organization has been perpetuating the refugees' "miserable situation."

January 7, 2009 22:42
2 minute read.
MK to UN chief: UNRWA a 'shield for terrorism and hatred'

arye eldad MK 248.88. (photo credit: Courtesy of the Knesset)


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A small group of activists demonstrated on Wednesday afternoon in front of the offices of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in Jerusalem, claiming it was cooperating with terror organizations inside Gaza. The demonstration followed the IDF bombardment of a UNRWA school in the Jabalya refugee camp on Tuesday. MK Arye Eldad, who headed the demonstration, sent a letter on behalf of his National Union Party to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, asking him to stop funding the UNRWA and to transfer its missions to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), "which has a proven track record of efficiency in rehabilitating tens of millions of refugees all over the world." Eldad said in the letter that "for the past 60 years, UNRWA has become an organization that serves as a front and shield for terrorism and hatred. They teach the Palestinian children to hate Israel and to destroy it. UNRWA's facilities have become bases for terror and missile-launching. This is not a relief organization, but rather a terror-supporting organization." Speaking to The Jerusalem Post, Eldad said, "UNRWA's purpose at first was to assist the Arab refugees, but it has been perpetuating their miserable situation. It doesn't operate to move them into permanent buildings; it teaches the UNRWA Palestinian school children hatred and fighting against Israel instead of assisting them in rehabilitating their lives, as the UNHCR has been doing with great success all over the world since World War I." Eldad arranged the demonstration in response to Tuesday's incident, which came after Hamas operatives fired mortars on IDF soldiers from the windows of the UNRWA school. It was reported that 30 Palestinians were killed in the incident. "Murderous terrorists find cover in UNRWA offices and institutions, terrorist cells use UNRWA schoolyards as rocket launching pads," Eldad's letter read. "As such, UNRWA is becoming an organization that supports terror." UNRWA's spokesman for the region, Sami Mshasha, said in response, "If one listened to the UN Security Council yesterday, they all remarked on the importance of the work of UNRWA in the past few years. UNRWA is exclusively a humanitarian organization. When we operate in Gaza, we operate with a clear mandate to assist, with no political considerations. "The claim that we assist terrorists and terror organizations is an insulting notion," he went on. "The former Israeli ambassador and his colleagues thanked UNRWA several times for its essential work. We do not perpetuate the refugees' situation. UNRWA awaits a political solution to the refugees' condition, and not the other way around."

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