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UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestine refugees, has hit back at Israeli allegations, made through social media, that it allows schools it runs in the Gaza Strip to be used by Palestinian forces to launch rockets towards Israel.
“The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) denies allegations made online by the IDF Spokesperson that Palestinian militants are using UNRWA schools or facilities in Gaza to fire rockets into Israel,” the agency said in a press release today.
The statement came on the seventh continuous day of Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip, which has so far claimed 124 lives, more than two dozen of them children, and injured over 800 people.
Israel’s “creation” of video footage for propaganda
UNRWA criticized Israel’s fabrication of material and its dissemination via social media:
On 17 November 2012 at 22:16, the Israeli Defense Forces tweeted from their official Twitter account (@IDFSpokesperson) a link to a video hosted on their official YouTube channel, featuring an animated film that depicts militants firing rockets from a school clearly marked with the UNRWA insignia.
UNRWA is concerned about the creation and use of footage that wrongly suggests that UNRWA is allowing its premises to be used for terrorist activities in the current conflict and the unauthorised use of its logo in computer-generated material. In a situation of conflict these allegations have potentially grave consequences. UNRWA takes with utmost seriousness the neutrality of its installations, particularly in times of heightened violence.
False allegations, but real death, injury and damage to UNRWA affiliated persons and facilities
Israel has long alleged – without evidence – and using fabricated graphic material that schools and hospitals are used as military sites, in order to justify its frequent attacks on them.
UNRWA said in an 18 November situation report that among its facilities damaged in the ongoing Israeli attacks, were the Shejaya Elementary Co-ed School which sustained severe damage to the boundary wall and the school building.
Marwan Abu El Qumsan, an Arabic teacher in his early fifties, at UNRWA’s Preparatory Boys School in Jabalia, was killed while in his car in an Israeli airstrike on 15 November, and on 18 November a Grade 4 student died following an Israeli air attack in an open area near Beach Camp.
Separately, UNRWA said that its workers have rebuilt a food distribution center in the Jabalia refugee camp badly damaged in an Israeli airstrike on 18 November.