By Mordechai Ben-Menachem
United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East – UNRWA; the anatomy of misfortune.
No agency in the history of humane concepts has ever done a worse job. No organisation has even been a greater disappointment or brought more pain and suffering to those it was ostensibly intended to help.
Not even the absurdity called the United Nations, of which UNRWA is a part, is as much a shame to itself and its goals as UNRWA.
So far, three UNRWA schools has been discovered to be major weapons storage depots for the war against the Jews. In all three instances, when the rockets were discovered, they were dispatched with utmost alacrity to Hamas for us against Jews. Dispatched by the managers of the institution and by the management of UNRWA.
On multiple occasions shots have been fired from UNRWA schools at Israel Defense Forces soldiers searching for attack tunnels. At least one soldier has been killed by fire from UNRWA schools.
On Wednesday of this week, three Israeli soldiers were killed and another fifteen wounded by multiple explosions inside a booby-trapped UNRWA health clinic, an incident that may even finally start debate over UNRWA complacency Gaza Strip’s civilian infrastructure militarization. These soldiers were sappers (as was I). They were there to prevent the bombs and mines from blowing up Gazans.
In addition, they elite soldiers were working to destroy a Hamas tunnel that opened into the UNRWA clinic. It is remotely possible that Hamas dug a major attack tunnels from within an UNRWA “health clinic” and the managers of UNRWA did not know and comply? The question is meant to be rhetorical.
Destroying such a tunnel from an UNRWA clinic was considered a “sensitive task,” not that we did not know that the UN would blame Israel for it, but when the explosives detonated it brought part of the building down on top of them; and on top of several Gaza civilians. These deaths were also blamed on Israel, by UNRWA.
Anyone with a semblance of sanity was quick to question how the “opening of a Hamas tunnel… which takes months to dig and is not discrete” was created in an UNRWA facility.
UNRWA engenders significant on-going criticism amid repeated revelations that at least three of its schools were rocket storehouses, most facilities are used continually as gun emplacements and at least one health clinic hides a tunnel. Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Tzachi Hanegbi blasted UNRWA for returning the rockets to Hamas, in order to facilitate and encourage endangering and jeopardizing Israeli lives – even as UNRWA officials continually lash out against Israel over Operation Protective Edge tactics.
Additonal UNRWA schools are used as rocket launch sites.
Hamas officials had earlier in the day accused Israel of shelling an UNRWA school and killing 15 Palestinians. The first problem with that, as we have seen, is that it is by no means clear that the shelling came from the IDF.
The issue came up at the State Department’s daily press briefing Wednesday, part of a particularly tense extended exchange. Journalists pressed State Department Deputy Spokesperson Marie Harf for a reaction to how “the Israelis have kind of implied, if not said so explicitly sometimes, that particularly UNRWA is in cahoots with Hamas in some way, providing them shelter, allowing them to hide their rockets.”
I have yet to hear an answer – from anyone.
A message published Tuesday by Mohammed Deif, the Hamas military leader, committed them to continuing the conflict against Israel. Deif also boasted that fighters organized by Hamas were ready to continuing attacking Israeli positions, boasting that “the IDF stands before united factions and soldiers who yearn for death.”
Israel has emphasized that it will continue operating inside the Gaza Strip until attack tunnels are neutralized. The New York Times on Monday conveyed remarks from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declaring that the Jewish state will “not complete the operation without neutralizing the tunnels, the sole purpose of which is the destruction of our civilians and the killing of our children” and that “it cannot be that the citizens of the state of Israel will live under the deadly threats of missiles and infiltration through tunnels – death from above and death from below.”
Israel goes to significant lengths to emphasize that their primary strategic goal remains destruction of Hamas’s tunnel infrastructure.
The endeavour to grind down that infrastructure is convoluted by UNRWA complicity, which of course, is exactly the point of it.
Dennis Prager, writing in an article called “The Genocide Libel” on July 29, 2014, said: “One left-wing exception is Bill Maher, who told the Jewish Journal of Los Angeles …: “What I find so ironic is that after World War II, everybody said, ‘I don’t understand the Jews. How could they have just gone to their slaughter like that?’ OK, and then when they fight back: ‘I don’t understand the Jews. Why can’t they just go to their slaughter?’ It’s like, ‘You know what? We did that once. It’s not gonna happen again. You’re just gonna have to get used to the fact that Jews now defend themselves.”
Anyone who thinks Israel is fighting solely for itself and for its own survival, needs to rethink priorities.
This is the reality of another branch of the same tree Hamas is a part of. Unfortunately, we now must begin to ask if UNRWA is not still another.
Mordechai Ben-Menachem is a former researcher/lecturer at Ben-Gurion University and an author of 30 book ranging from engineering to poetry. He is also an ordained clergyman and a former soldier.