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August 28, 2013 11:00 am

Israel: UN Refugee Group Engaging in ‘One-Sided Advocacy’

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Palestinian boys raise their hands in a school run by the UNRWA. Photo: UN Photo/Shareef Sarhan. The Israeli Foreign Ministry issued a strong statement against the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) on Tuesday, calling on the organization “to return to its original humanitarian agenda of assisting Palestinian refugees, while refraining from any one-sided political advocacy activities.”

The Foreign Ministry was responding to a UNRWA press statement released on Monday about an incident earlier that day in which three Palestinians were killed during an Israel Defense Forces anti-terror raid in Qalandiya, north of Jerusalem.

In a statement about the incident, UNRWA cited “credible reports” that an UNRWA employee had been shot “on his way to work, and was not involved in any violent activity.” On Tuesday, the Israeli Foreign Ministry said Israel regretted the fatalities and that a formal investigation had been launched by the IDF into the incident.

“Without prejudice to the outcome of the investigation, we were disappointed but not surprised at UNRWA’s press statement from yesterday,” the Foreign Ministry said.

“Quite aside from the fact that UNRWA did not even bother to approach any official Israeli sources for comment, its statement was rushed to the press while the violent riots were still raging on in Qalandiya. Hence, it begs the question of how it was possible for [UNRWA] to collect forensic evidence, cross reference personal eye-witness reports and reach peremptory conclusions—all of that in the space of just a few hours,” the ministry added.

Earlier in August, UNRWA “negligently allowed a third party to use some of its installations in order to organize ‘summer camps’ where anti-Semitism and incitement to violence were preached to Palestinian youth,” according to the Foreign Ministry.

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