UN confirms Paestinian targeted by Israeli raid employed by UNRWA


United Nations : The UN has confirmed that Awad al Geeg, the Palestinian killed on Monday in Rafah in an Israeli targeted assassination air strike, was an UNRWA employee but will not confirm that he was the deputy commander of Islamic Jihad.

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Marie Okabe told the daily press briefing Tuesday in answer to a question that the 40-year-old Palestinian was deputy headmaster of a boys’ preparatory school in Rafah, but “it’s not for me to confirm whether or not the individual was the deputy commander of Islamic Jihad.” The Islamic militant group confirmed that he was.

Okabe reiterated that UNRWA has a policy of zero tolerance on politics in the workplace and that in the past 18 months the agency has summarily dismissed three teachers, belonging to Hamas, in Gaza for breaching agency rules on political involvement.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon just Monday night praised UNRWA for its “remarkable” work in the Palestinian refugee camps and noted that it, along with the UN, have often “not escaped criticism,” in reference to Israel’s criticism of the agency.

“Amidst the passions engulfing the Arab-Israeli conflict, claims of bias have come from all directions. Some have even insisted that UNRWA is part of the problem, not the solution,” Ban told “Friends of UNRWA” at an exhibition held here on UNRWA’s work.

The group is chaired by Richard Murphy, former US Assistant Secretary of State.

Ban added that “nothing could be further from the truth. I can personally vouch that the UN is strictly impartial in its approach to the conflict. If we harbour a bias, it is towards the peace and welfare of all people, Israelis and Palestinians alike.”