Yerushalayim (TPS) – Israel has called for the United Nations Security Council to issue an unequivocal condemnation of Hamas, after a UN agency for Palestinian refugees said it found part of a tunnel under two of its schools in the Gaza Strip.
Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon submitted a letter of protest to the UN Security Council, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement Saturday.
“I call on the Security Council to strongly and unequivocally condemn Hamas and its repeated abuse of civilian infrastructure, and to designate this group as a terrorist organization,” Danon continued.
“The latest finding verifies once again that Hamas’s cruelty knows no limits, including endangering centers of learning and education, and using children as human shields,” Danon wrote.
Danon’s letter of protest came after the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) revealed Friday that during construction work a tunnel had been discovered under two adjacent schools run by the agency in the central Gaza Strip near Deir al-Balah, the Maghazi Elementary Boys School and the Maghazi Preparatory Boys School.
Speaking at Sunday’s cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu accused Hamas of committing a “double war crime.”
“Hamas commits premeditated attacks against civilians and at the same time it hides behind children to do so,” Netanyahu said.
The prime minister said he had told the United States ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, during her visit to Israel last week that the time had come to reconsider UNRWA’s future in light of what he called repeated incidents of incitement against Israel. “UNRWA perpetuates the Palestinian refugee problem instead of solving it,” Netanyahu added.
UNRWA said it issued a robust protest to Hamas and informed the Islamist group that it intends to seal the tunnel. It also demanded that “all parties respect the neutrality and inviolability of United Nations premises at all times.”
We “condemn(s) 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 UN premises are incompatible with the respect of privileges and immunities owed to the United Nations under applicable international law, which provides that UN premises shall be inviolable. The sanctity and neutrality of UN premises must be preserved at all times,” the group said in a statement.
Hamas issued a statement in response condemning UNRWA for the report’s allegations, which it said would be “exploited by the Israeli occupation to justify its crimes and encourage it to target unarmed civilians.”