Response to the new David Bedein film by UNRWA spokesperson Chris Gunness

19 April 2015

The accusation that UNRWA has been taken over by Hamas and is complicit in the recruitment of children is presented in the commentary of a new film by David Bedein as fact, without any evidence. This is because there is no evidence.

What a shame Roim Olam – a weekly foreign news magazine aired on Israel public Television Channel 1 News – chose not to give its audience a fair and balanced portrait of UNRWA’s education work with a quarter a million children in Gaza, showing our human rights classes that inculcate a sense of universal values; our summer fun weeks with recreational activities that attempt to give a sense of normalcy; our psychiatric counselling with tens of thousands of children injured, maimed, blinded and traumatized during the conflict last summer and our efforts to rebuild destroyed homes of countless children.

I am surprised that an award winning editor can broadcast such biased and false allegations without any evidence or proof.

Background Information: 

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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