Latest update: July 31st, 2014
UPDATE: Despite the report on both Channel 1 and from an IDF source, the JewishPress.com has been informed by a knowledgeable source that the booby-trapped building was in fact a former Red Cross clinic, and not an active UNRWA clinic as previously claimed. Our source informs us that while the building is not registered as a UNRWA facility, the IDF soldiers saw an UNRWA sign on the building identifying it as such, which raises the question, why was an UNRWA sign on a Hamas booby-trapped building.
We are investigating this further and will update readers when we have more information.
The remaining details of the report remain unchanged.
Once again UNRWA facilities have been used in terror attacks.
Three IDF soldiers died and 15 others were wounded Wednesday morning trying to safeguard an UNRWA clinic while destroying a terror tunnel in Gaza.
The only problem was that the clinic, which belonged to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) itself was the terror trap — a fact first reported by Amir Ben-Shalom of Israel’s Channel 1 television — and the tunnel was inside the clinic.
Staff Sgt. Matan Gotlib, 21, of Rishon Lezion, and Staff Sgt. Omer Chai, 21, of Savion paid the ultimate price along with one other comrade, whose name has yet to be released. Their passing brings the IDF death toll to 56 in Operation Protective Edge.
The elite Maglan unit had sent in sniffing dogs as a precaution, and a small robot to minimize damage to the clinic, located in Khan Younis, prior to detonating the charge that would destroy the tunnel whose entrance was found inside the building.
But explosives were rigged to the passage and they were detonated instead. The building collapsed on to the soldiers.
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) facilities have become death traps in Gaza, with three of the agency’s schools proven to be weapons storage facilities for Hamas and allied terrorists.
Three UNRWA schools have been found housing rockets. In one school, UNRWA officials handed over the rockets to Hamas, and in the second school the rockets ‘disappeared’ (probably somewhere over Israel).
UNRWA officials allegedly did not tell an angry United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon where the collection of ordnance went.
The thing to consider is this - you can’t exactly dig out a tunnel, with its entrance inside a building without the people in the building noticing.
Three UNRWA schools storing rockets. A UNRWA medical clinic with a bomb-laden terror tunnel.
The United Nations has some serious answering to do.
Meanwhile, With IDF troops in Gaza fighting terrorists on all sides, soldiers returned fire towards the source of mortar fire midday Wednesday when their position was shelled in Khan Younis.
According to UNRWA, one of its schools was shelled, killing 15 and wounding 90.
Did the attack result from Israeli tank fire? The details aren’t clear.
But White House spokesperson Bernadette Meehan condemned the shelling and said the U.S. was “extremely concerned” that thousands of Palestinian Arabs are not safe in UN-designated shelters in Gaza.
Perhaps President Barack Obama should have a chat with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, and suggest he talk with the head of UNRWA about how to prevent terrorists from infiltrating buildings under his care.
At least Meehan had the good sense to condemn “those responsible” for hiding weapons in UN facilities in Gaza. She said the current escalation shows the need for a cease fire as soon as possible.
Just to make the point, probably, Israel’s Security Cabinet actually did tell its forces to hold their fire for four hours in order to allow a humanitarian cease fire, from 3pm to 7pm Wednesday afternoon.
The score — from the Gaza side of course — was 26 rockets and missiles fired by terrorists at Israeli civilian communities, including two intercepted by the Iron Dome anti-missile defense system directly over the cities of Ashkelon and Netivot.
Such statements from the White House demonstrate a disconnect from the reality in the region.
The fact is, Hamas deliberately operates behind its human shields in order to elicit exactly the kind of naive – or maybe not so naive – condemnations issued by the White House. That is why it plants all of its military installations in civilian structures; in private homes, in children’s playgrounds, in schools, parks, mosques, hospitals and cemeteries. Those all have been mapped out and shown to world leaders over and over again.
UNRWA is rapidly becoming a liability in the region, rather than the humanitarian aid organization it was intended to be.
One school might be used for storing missiles, possibly, without the knowledge of its administration. Two? Hmmm….
Three?? No way. That’s already a pattern of complicit approval, closing eyes in order to avoid having to deal with a problem that won’t go away. Or worse, a sign of fear that perhaps there’s a risk to lives (maybe their own?) from those who planted the missiles in the first place.
Booby-trapped clinic with a tunnel planted inside? Like I said — you can’t hide that kind of digging and construction from the people working there, day after day, night after night. It’s just not possible.
Israeli deputy foreign minister Tzachi HaNegbi told reporters Wednesday that Israel has plenty of evidence that Hamas is using UNRWA facilities – including its schools – for terrorist activities.
One would think that a tunnel entrance in an UNRWA clinic, booby-trapped, might be a bit of a wake-up call as well.
The deputy foreign minister also noted that three times UNRWA itself admitted the missiles were hidden in the schools. “Who knows how many were not found,” he pointed out, adding that they were given right back to the same terror organization that started the war in the first place by firing rockets at Israeli civilians. “Instead of blaming and condemning Israel, UNRWA should make a real effort to stop being manipulated and used by the terrorist organization,” he said.
So why is the Obama White House rapping Israel on the knuckles? What’s that all about?
About the Author: Rachel Levy is a freelance journalist who has written for Jewish publications in New York, New Jersey and Israel.
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