‘Shocking’ threats made against UN director in Gaza by Hamas condemned

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‘Shocking’ threats made against UN director in Gaza by Hamas condemned

Labour Friends of Israel criticises Hamas after it emerged UNRWA's director of operations in Gaza, Matthias Schamale, had been ordered to leave

Lee Harpin is the Jewish News's political editor

Palestinians extinguish a fire in a collapsed building, hit during an Israeli strike in the southern Gaza Strip in 2014.
  Photo by Abed Rahim Khatib/Pacific Press/ABACAPRESS.COM
Palestinians extinguish a fire in a collapsed building, hit during an Israeli strike in the southern Gaza Strip in 2014. Photo by Abed Rahim Khatib/Pacific Press/ABACAPRESS.COM

Labour Friends of Israel director Michael Rubin has condemned the “shocking” threats made to staff working for the United Nations Relief Works Agency (UNRWA) in Gaza by Hamas extremists.

Rubin spoke out after it emerged that staff- including UNRWA’s director of operations in Gaza Matthias Schamale – had been ordered to leave the Strip after denying claims of food and medical supplies in the region during the recent conflict.

Scamale also appeared on Israeli television confirming that military strikes by the IDF did not “with some exceptions” target civilians but that the “viciousness and ferocity” of the attacks in Gaza were “heavily felt.”

Earlier this week UNWRA also condemned “the existence and potential use by Palestinian armed groups” of a tunnel found underneath a school in southern Gaza, while also criticising  an Israeli airstrike on the building.

In response Hamas branded his comments a “complete distortion in favour of the Zionists” and ordered the UNWRA official’s exit from Gaza.

They also refused to guarantee the safety of other UNWRA staff in the area.

“It’s shocking that UNWRA staff have had to leave Gaza due to threats to their safety,” LFI’s Rubin said to Jewish News.

“Hamas being unable to guarantee the security of humanitarian staff, whilst simultaneously constructing terror tunnels under UNWRA schools tells you everything about the terror group’s commitment to the wellbeing of the people of Gaza who deserve so much better.”

A statement issued by the UN relief organisation added:”UNRWA demands that all parties desist from any activities or conduct that put beneficiaries and staff at risk and undermine the ability of UNRWA staff to provide assistance to Palestine refugees in safety and security.

“UNRWA installations are inviolable, and their neutrality must be respected at all times.

“UNRWA calls for the parties to the conflict to act in accordance with international law.”

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