UNWRA, the United Nations organization that administers international aid for Gaza, said on Friday that it had discovered terror tunnels built by Hamas under two of its schools in Gaza. The organization demanded that Hamas seal the tunnels; no classes will be held at the schools until it does, the organization declared.
The tunnels were discovered during construction work on an extension of one of the schools, being undertaken during summer vacation. In a statement, UNWRA said that it “condemns the existence of such tunnels in the strongest possible terms. It is unacceptable that students and staff are placed at risk in such a way. The construction and presence of tunnels under U.N. premises are incompatible with the respect of privileges and immunities owed to the United Nations under applicable international law, which provides that U.N. premises shall be inviolable. The sanctity and neutrality of U.N. premises must be preserved at all times.”
This is the first time UNWRA has made a public statement condemning Hamas’s terror tunnels. Israel has long accused the organization of ignoring the terror group’s activities in Gaza.
In response to the UNWRA announcement, IDF General Yoav Mordechai, head of COGAT (Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories), quoted comments made Friday by Saudi newspaper Okuz, which slammed Hamas for failing Gazans. Mordechai posted on a social media page that “Hamas is responsible for a double portion of disloyalty to Hamas,” quoting the Saudi newspaper. “Not only does it do nothing to help Gazans, it takes money donated to it for that purpose to dig terror tunnels. In the past three years Hamas has taken $120 million meant for Gazans and used it for their intensive terror tunnel building campaign.”
“It is clear as day that the Arab world understands that Hamas is destroying Gaza,” Mordechai added in his post. “Hamas is destroying Gaza, and destroying any chance for a future for Gazans. Perhaps the time has come for Gazans themselves to realize this.”
In its own statement, Hamas accused UNWRA of “cooperating with the Zionist enemy. We call on UNWRA to retract this accusation. Such lies only serve the interest of Israel and legitimize the crimes of the Zionist enemy.”