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November 30, 2022 11:32 am

UN Palestinian Refugee Agency Finds ‘Man-Made Cavity’ Under Gaza School


avatar by Andrew Bernard

Palestinian schoolchildren sit inside a classroom at an UNRWA-run school, on the first day of a new school year, in Gaza City, Aug. 29, 2018. Photo: Reuters / Mohammed Salem.

The United Nations Relief Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) on Tuesday announced that it had discovered a “man-made cavity” under one of its schools in Gaza, the latest recognition by the agency that one of its schools may have been used to cover the activities of militant terrorist groups such as Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ).

Describing the discovery as a “neutrality breach against the agency” UNRWA said that it had sealed the cavity and “protested strongly to the relevant authorities in Gaza,” presumably meaning Hamas, which governs the Gaza Strip. 

UNRWA’s press release did not mention either Hamas or Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) by name. Both groups have been repeatedly accused by Israel and other human rights groups of routinely and systematically using educational installations in the Gaza Strip, many operated by UNRWA, for terrorist purposes, including storing munitions, sheltering militants, and launching rockets.

UNRWA announced similar tunnel discoveries in 2021 and 2017. In 2017 it “robustly intervened and protested to Hamas” but has since declined to explicitly condemn the terrorist group. In 2014 UNRWA discovered several caches of rockets hidden in its schools.

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UNRWA schools themselves have been accused of indoctrinating Palestinian children with radical, antisemitic, and anti-Israel curricula.

In 2021 UNWRA announced it would investigate ten of its staffers after a watchdog group exposed more than 100 teachers, school principals and other employees that praise Hitler, propagate hatred against Jews and support terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians on social media. Earlier this year, UN Watch shared 20 additional examples of UNRWA teachers and staffers in the West Bank, Lebanon and Jordan expressing support for terrorist groups, violence against Jews and Israelis and antisemitism.

The Biden administration has restored hundreds of millions of dollars in US aid to UNRWA after the Trump administration had cut off aid to the agency in 2018.

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