Gaza Field Office Press Statement

14 December 2021

On 10 December 2021 a group of youth, who had been participating in a Hamas anniversary march in Gaza, forced their way past guards and into the UNRWA Jabalia Elementary Co-ed C and D school, where they pulled down an UNRWA flag from an antenna on the roof of the building and briefly held up a Hamas flag using their hands. The youth, along with their flag, were moved out of the UNRWA school a short while later. The relatively minor damage to the school building is under repair.

UNRWA condemns in the strongest terms the forced entry into the UNRWA Jabalia Elementary school, the removal of the UNRWA flag and the display of a Hamas flag. These actions are a serious violation of the neutrality of UNRWA’s premises, placing at risk UNRWA’s mandate to protect the rights of Palestinian refugees.  UNRWA has presented these concerns directly to the defacto authorities.


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 with a mandate to provide humanitarian assistance and protection to registered Palestine refugees in the Agency’s area of operations, namely the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, Gaza, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria, pending a just and lasting solution to their plight. Thousands of Palestine refugees who lost both their homes and livelihood because of the 1948 conflict have remained displaced and in need of significant support for over seventy years. UNRWA helps them achieve their full potential in human development through quality services it provides in education, health care, relief and social services, protection, camp infrastructure and improvement, microfinance and emergency assistance. UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions.

For more information, please contact:

Sami Mshasha
Director of Communications, Arabic Language Spokesperson
+972 (0)54 216 8295
+972 (0)258 90724
Tamara Alrifai
UNRWA Spokesperson
+962 (0)79 090 0140