Israel accused the UN Relief and Works Agency of deliberately staging a situation where the IDF had to turn back aid shipments, for the benefit of photographers the UNRWA arranged to have at Kerem Shalom crossing.  The UN agency deliberately sent material that had not yet been approved by the IDF for transfer into Gaza, forcing the Israelis to hold up half of the trucks at the transfer point:

The office of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories slammed UNRWA on Monday and accused the United Nations organization of creating a provocation at the Kerem Shalom crossing by bringing trucks to it carrying supplies that had not been approved by Israel for entry into the Gaza Strip.

On Monday, the Kerem Shalom crossing was opened for the delivery of humanitarian supplies to Gaza, including some 50 trucks with supplies provided by UNRWA. The night before, UNRWA had asked the Gaza Coordination and Liaison Administration to permit the transfer of paper and plastic bags to Gaza, and had been told the request was under consideration.

Despite not having received approval, UNRWA, COGAT officials said, drove several trucks carrying the supplies from Jerusalem to the crossing and coordinated their arrival with several media outlets, which filmed the trucks being turned away.

UNRWA says they need the paper and plastic bags for schools, which don’t have enough textbooks for all of the students.  They may want to avoid the textbook issues, though, as the Israelis have a legitimate beef about what kind of textbooks UNRWA supplies for Palestinian children.  The US Congress has taken up this issue on a few occasions, and analyses repeatedly show that UNRWA provides textbooks that promote violence, hatred, and radical Islamist thinking.

Beyond that, though, UNRWA knows it has to have its shipments inspected and approved before the Israelis can allow them into Gaza.  Instead of working with them to get the paper and plastic, they set up a phony confrontation for the benefit of the media, which gathered willingly to record it.  This demonstrates rather nicely that the UN is not a disinterested third party at all, but an entity hostile to Israel’s interests — or at the very least, staffed by immature putzes.

It also produces a question about UNRWA’s priorities.  If the humanitarian situation is so poor in Gaza, why the emphasis on paper and plastic rather than food, water, and clothing?  Israel notes that they want to focus on those items above ancillaries like notepads and school binders.  Shouldn’t a relief agency be similarly focused?

Tags: Israel