For the first time a senior UN official has personally and publicly admitted that Hamas terrorists abused UN-run schools and other facilities in the Gaza Strip during last summer’s war.
“We were the ones who found the weapons caches in our facilities during inspections,” Pierre Krähenbühl, commissioner-general of UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) tasked with aiding “Palestinian refugees,” told Israel’s Yediot Aharonot. “The reason that the whole world knew about it is that we told them.”
On at least three occasions during the 50-day conflict UNRWA officials discovered that its schools and other facilities in Gaza had been used by Hamas as arms depots. On all three occasions, Krähenbühl and UNRWA returned the weapons to Hamas.
“I was the only senior international official who condemned the rocket fire from the Gaza Strip at Israel,” Krähenbühl continued. “And I didn’t do that from a place where it was easy and convenient to talk like Jerusalem or Geneva, but rather from within the Gaza Strip itself. I can say of myself that I take international law very seriously, and if I know that rockets are fired intentionally at regions where there is a population that can be harmed by it – I condemn.”
While that is true, the American news site Breitbart pointed out that in making those statements last summer, Krähenbühl conspicuously failed to identify Hamas as the perpetrator of those crimes.
But the UNRWA chief has no problem directly calling out Israel over its strike on a UN-run school in the Gaza City suburb of Jabaliya (one of the locations found to be housing Hamas weapons).
“The day after the strike I visited the wounded children at the hospital, and I saw with my own eyes their parents who stood by them; what does that mean when you don’t have the ability to protect your children,” he told Yediot.
Video evidence published by the Israeli army not only showed the school being used as a depot, but Hamas terrorists actually launched missiles at Israel from the adjacent street.
Still, Krähenbühl complained that “even after we gave the IDF the locations and clarified that there are civilians there, they were still attacked by Israel, so it is my duty to condemn them.”
Despite what even the UN confirmed were Israel’s exaggerated efforts to minimize civilian casualties, according to Krähenbühl some 540 Gaza children lost their lives during the war. “That doesn’t match with the Israeli assessment that all steps were taken to reduce to a minimum the number of wounded,” he charged, sidestepping the fact that these children and others were often used as human shields, of which Hamas actually boasted.
At any rate, the interview marks the first time a senior UNRWA official had admitted what Israel has been complaining about for years: that the Palestinian terror groups abuse their own people in service to their goal of destroying Israel.