The United Nations is facing tough criticism and allegations of major misconduct after caches of rockets were found hidden at a UN-run school in Gaza before reportedly being handed to terrorists, sparking a global scandal that threatens to further undermine the credibility of the dictator-dominated world body. Making matters even worse, after being found, the U.S. taxpayer-funded UN “Relief and Works Agency” (UNRWA) handed the deadly rockets over to Hamas, the terrorist group that runs Gaza with an iron fist and hides behind Arab civilians while firing thousands of rockets into Israel. Now the global outfit is complaining that its “schools” were hit by Israeli forces.
The first batch of deadly weapons were uncovered at the UNRWA-run Gaza “school” last week. Another, separate cache of rockets was found at a UN school on Tuesday of this week, too. In a statement, the UN agency claimed they were found “in the course of the regular inspection of its premises.” Instead of handing the rockets over to Israeli authorities, however, the outfit admittedly handed them to Hamas for “disposal,” according to news reports. Critics promptly cried foul, noting that Hamas would almost certainly launch the weapons at Israel. Thousands of rockets have already been fired at civilian targets in Israel amid the latest round of fighting.
Israeli authorities were outraged at the news. “UNRWA schools were established to educate children in Gaza, but instead they are providing a hiding place for rockets meant to kill children in Israel,” fumed Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman, saying Israel was “troubled” by the developments. He also called the UNRWA’s decision to hand the rockets to Hamas “unacceptable,” while lambasting efforts of dictatorial UN member regimes to pass anti-Israel resolutions amid the conflict in Gaza.
While Israelis were left outraged by the rockets at UN schools, the establishment press outside of Israel barely mentioned it. The deafening media silence, of course, sparked even more angst. Speaking on CNN, Israeli Ambassador to the United States Ron Dermer blasted the channel for failing to report on the developments even while it accused Israel of targeting schools in Gaza.
“It would be a disservice to your viewers for a reporter from Gaza not to mention that in the last week, we had two different UNRWA schools where we had actually rockets found in the schools and handed over to Hamas,” Dermer told the bewildered CNN host, who seemed shocked by the news. “That's publicly available information, and it's kind of an important fact for your reporter to mention…. Do you not think that it’s relevant to report on CNN?” The host eventually agreed that it was.
For its part, the UN has been in damage-control mode for days, working frantically to mitigate the ongoing public-relations fiasco mushrooming in Gaza while regularly lashing out at Israel. “The Secretary-General is alarmed to hear that rockets were placed in an UNRWA school in Gaza and that subsequently these have gone missing,” UN boss Ban Ki Moon’s office said in a statement released the day after the second batch of rockets was found on UNRWA premises.
Ban also claimed he had asked for a “full review of such incidents” and how the UN responds, according to the statement. “The United Nations is taking concerted action to increase its vigilance in preventing such episodes from happening again,” he added. It was not clear what sort of “action” Ban had in mind, however. The UNRWA would not even send a picture of the weapons to Israeli authorities, which critics said was a deliberate effort to conceal Hamas’ ongoing use of civilian institutions to wage its bloody campaign.
UNRWA also rushed to spin the news as outrage grew around the world. In statements provided to multiple media outlets, for example, agency spokesman Chris Gunness even claimed that the rockets were not given to Hamas. Instead, he claimed in a half-baked PR gimmick, the deadly weapons were handed to officials with the “national unity government” led by Fatah boss Mahmoud Abbas, which, until very recently, also included Hamas. Other sources indicated that the rocket recipients were actually directly answerable to Hamas.
Still, the UNRWA tried to justify it. “According to longstanding UN practice in UN humanitarian operations worldwide, incidents involving unexploded ordnance that could endanger beneficiaries and staff are referred to the local authorities,” Gunness said in statements to the press. “Local authorities fall under the government of national consensus in Ramallah. They pledged to pass a message to all parties not to violate UNRWA neutrality.”
While the UN styles itself “neutral” in the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, critics have long accused the global body — especially its agency for Arab refugees — of supporting jihad and terror against Israeli civilians. Despite being bankrolled by huge amounts of U.S. taxpayer dollars, analysts say the UN agency continues to provide financial and material support to Hamas. Because it is designated as a terrorist group by the U.S. government, an American doing the same thing would end up in federal prison. Critics have also charged that the UN schools teach anti-Semitic propaganda to Arab children.
Of course, the self-declared end goal of Hamas, infamous for its use of suicide bombings and terrorism, is to eliminate the Jewish state of Israel entirely, along with all of its non-Muslim inhabitants. In its place, Hamas bosses hope to establish a radical Islamist regime such as the one they currently operate in Gaza. U.S. diplomats and media outlets have, in the past, played a major role in boosting the organization, which is now officially designated as a terrorist group.
Indeed, as far back as the late 1970s, the extreme militant outfit reportedly received some support from the Israeli government, too — supposedly under the guise of counteracting the brutal Soviet-backed “Palestinian Liberation Organization” (PLO) terrorist group often referred to as Fatah. Despite its vicious terrorism, its assassination of U.S. officials, and its KGB roots — for decades the PLO openly proclaimed its loyalty to Marxism and “solidarity” with communist regimes as its leaders were groomed by Moscow — the PLO has received a great deal of financial, diplomatic, and military aid from the U.S. government, European powers, and the UN.
Often described falsely as “moderate,” Fatah has tried to re-brand itself, going from Soviet-backed Marxist terror group to Islamic government of what it hopes will one day be the “nation” of Palestine. Already, its U.S.-backed leader, Mahmoud Abbas, styles himself the “president” of Arabs who live in the territories. Now, however, the two groups are cooperating and were even working toward a “unity government” in recent months to rule over what is often called the Palestinian territories. “Today we declare the end of the split and regaining the unity of the homeland,” Abbas said in June. Analysts noted that because the U.S. government funds Abbas’ “government,” that means American taxpayers would be indirectly subsidizing Hamas, too.
Former congressman and GOP presidential contender Ron Paul, who advocates a foreign policy of non-intervention, also highlighted the historical role of the U.S. and Israeli governments in creating Hamas in the first place. “You know, Hamas, if you look at the history, you will find that Hamas was encouraged and actually started by Israel because they wanted Hamas to counteract Yasir Arafat,” Paul said on the floor of the House before retiring. “So we first, indirectly and directly through Israel, helped establish Hamas.” The “blowback” from that is being seen today.
Since the latest outbreak of hostilities began following the murder of three Israeli teenagers and a deluge of Hamas rockets in response to arrests, dozens of Israelis and hundreds of Arabs have been killed. International efforts to negotiate a ceasefire are ongoing.
Photo of Qassam rocket and launchers: Israeli Defense Forces
Alex Newman, a foreign correspondent for The New American, is currently based in Europe. He can be reached at
Despite Attempts at Ceasefire, Israel Pounded by Hamas Rockets