(JNS.org) 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 UNRWA logo. Credit: UNRWA.
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
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.