Israel’s highest-rating news programme, Channel Two News, has published a statement correcting false claims that rockets were fired from schools operated by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) during the Gaza war in 2008-2009. The statement makes clear that Israeli officials themselves acknowledged that such claims were false and that there was no evidence to support them.However, Channel 2 says that it never issued a correction.
“We heard this misinformation during the war when there was shelling on and around the Agency’s schools and our main warehouse in Gaza”, said UNRWA Spokesperson Chris Gunness, “but Israeli officials made it clear to the UN during the war itself that they knew claims about militants in UNRWA installations were completely false. Constant, unchecked repetition of this misinformation has been very damaging to the Agency and has produced some very poor and biased journalism, which I will continue to confront. This is the third time in just a few months that a major news organisation has issued a public retraction because of false information about UNRWA.”
Yesterday UNRWA issued a wrong misleading message in a UN press release, stating that "News 2 published an correction denying the accuracy of the claims made by it in the past - whereby, from 2008 to 2009 Qassam rockets were shot at Israel from UNRWA of the United Nations' facilities in Gaza Strip . "UNRWA lying? Perish the thought!
This press release was out to the media after News 2 agreed to the request of UNRWA to publish its response to the story Ohad Hemo aired last Saturday, and was about activities of left-wing activists in the territories.
During the item, a foreign activist hurled an accusation that Israel bombed hospitals and schools of the United Nations. In response the reporter said to her that Hamas members operated from these UN facilities and attempts were made to shoot Qassam rockets from there to Israel. UNRWA appealed to News 2 and asked to post a comment on these allegations and the response was posted alongside the story online, but it claimed that the claims raised by the reporter are not true.
The fact that News 2 agreed to the request of UNRWA to comment to the article was deceptively presented by UNRWA statement as if News 2 retracted this statement, which is not true at all.
While no one seriously claims that UNRWA consciously allowed rocket fire from inside its facilities during the Gaza war, it is clear that such rocket fire certainly did occur nearby.
(h/t O, Ruchie)