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Former head of Israeli army makes false allegation against UNRWA
Statement by UNRWA Spokesperson, Chris Gunness
The head of the Israeli army during the summer war in Gaza has reportedly made the allegation that a weapon fired from an UNRWA school in Gaza killed an Israeli child in a kibbutz in southern Israel. This allegation was made by the Israeli Army in August 2014. However, it is false. Less than 2 hours after it was first made by the Israeli army, the Israeli army itself officially retracted the claim and issued a correction through the Twitter account of its Spokesperson (see “screen cap below”). It is extremely disappointing that a former head of the Israeli army should repeat an allegation publicly retracted by his own spokesperson. It is unfortunate and creates a hostile environment for humanitarian agencies. Officials should ensure accuracy of their public statements.
UNRWA is confronted with an increased demand for services resulting from a growth in the number of registered Palestine refugees, the extent of their vulnerability and their deepening poverty. UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions and financial support has been outpaced by the growth in needs. As a result, the UNRWA programme budget, which supports the delivery of core essential services, operates with a large shortfall. UNRWA encourages all Member States to work collectively to exert all possible efforts to fully fund the Agency’s programme budget. UNRWA emergency programmes and key projects, also operating with large shortfalls, are funded through separate funding portals. UNRWA is a United Nations agency established by the General Assembly in 1949 and mandated to provide assistance and protection to some 5.4 million Palestine refugees registered with UNRWA across its five fields of operation. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank, including East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip achieve their full human development potential, pending a just and lasting solution to their plight. UNRWA services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, protection and microfinance.
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