Israeli official: U.N. agency returns rockets found at school to Hamas

Palestinian boys raise their hands during one of the first classes of the 2011-12 academic year at a school in Gaza supported by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). Credit: UN Photo/Shareef Sarhan.

( A senior Israeli official accused the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) of returning 20 rockets discovered last week at one of the agency's Gaza schools to Hamas.

“The rockets were passed on to the government authorities in Gaza, which is Hamas. In other words, UNRWA handed to Hamas rockets that could well be shot at Israel,” the Israeli official told the Times of Israel.

The U.N. agency is suffering from “battered-wife syndrome” and is attempting “to ingratiate itself with Hamas,” a different official said.

UNRWA’s director of advocacy and strategic communications, Christopher Gunness, said in a statement Monday, “Immediately after the discovery of the rockets, UNRWA proactively informed the relevant parties and successfully took all necessary measures for the removal of the objects in order to preserve the safety and security of the school. Local authorities fall under the government of national consensus in Ramallah. They pledged to pass a message to all parties not to violate UNRWA neutrality.”

UNRWA is refusing to disclose any photos of the rockets, arguing that “any photographic material” is the property of the agency and confidential evidence in the investigation of the incident.

“We will keep relevant players informed about the investigation,” Gunness said.

Posted on July 21, 2014 .