UN agency returns rockets to Hamas

I’ve really made an effort over the years to continue to try to find something nice to say about the United Nations, since I still believe that a properly run, responsibly directed international body could accomplish a lot of good in the world. But when you read stories like this one, it’s pretty difficult to maintain a sunny outlook.

United Nations agency that last week found rockets in a Gaza school operating under its auspices has handed that weaponry over to Hamas, Israeli officials said Sunday, accusing the organization of actively helping the terrorist organization potentially attack Israeli civilians.

“The rockets were passed on to the government authorities in Gaza, which is Hamas. In other words, UNRWA handed to Hamas rockets that could well be shot at Israel,” a senior Israeli official told The Times of Israel.

A different senior official said UNRWA, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, charged with overseeing humanitarian efforts in Gaza, has been suffering from “battered-wife syndrome” for years and currently “attempts to ingratiate itself with Hamas.”

According to the UNRWA spokesman reached for comment, it’s apparently a long standing policy to refer matters of incidents involving unexploded ordnance which might endanger beneficiaries and staff to the local authorities. And in most cases, that’s probably a fine policy. But in this case there seem to be two glaring problems. First of all, the phrase unexploded ordinance is, I’m sure, generally used to describe cases where civilians find a bomb in a field someplace which didn’t detonate on impact or some land mines left over from a previous conflict. And in most countries, contacting the local government is probably a good first step. But these are stockpiled rockets which are waiting to be fired, not rusted out World War II shells. I don’t think these are the sorts of weapons which an “unexploded ordnance” policy was meant to cover.

Second, the “local government” in most cases is, I would imagine, a neutral body looking to secure the safety of their citizens and work with such an international agency. One might suppose that any UNRWA workers who are on the ground in Gaza are familiar with Hamas and would realize that they were essentially fueling another round of the attacks which we’re all ostensibly seeking to shut down, wouldn’t they?

Double Face Palm material.