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2014 Gaza Conflict Gaza Hamas Israel UNRWA

‘Accomplice to war crimes’

22 Jul, 2014

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency could be culpable as an accomplice to war crimes after it allegedly handed over rockets found in a UNRWA-run school to security forces run by Hamas. While the UN’s biggest agency subdivision, with 30,000 staff, apparently fulfilled its obligations by turning over the rockets to a Hamas-Fatah ‘unity’ police force, there is no public record of Fatah or non-Hamas ‘unity’ officials running a security force in the territory since the 2007 Hamas takeover, and the agency could have handed the rockets to a third party, placed them in an open field and notified the Israel Defense Forces of the location, or sought other options.

Israel Democracy Institute Vice President Prof. Mordechai Kremnitzer says the UNRWA’s actions are a ‘war crime,’ although he says that there could be no criminal prosecution since it could never be criminally proven that the particular rockets were used to target Israelis, while Hebrew University Professor and former Foreign Ministry Legal Advisor Robbie Sabel says the UNRWA had no legal obligation to hand the rockets over to Israel and says he ‘would not make a capital case,’ but says that while UNRWA chief Christopher Gunness may have been unaware of Hamas’ involvement in the security forces, UNRWA workers on the ground in Gaza must have known.