On Monday’s broadcast of CNN International’s “One World,” Director of United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) Affairs in Gaza Thomas White responded to questions on reported allegations from an Israeli hostage that a UNRWA teacher helped hold him hostage by discussing how they distribute flour.
Co-host Bianna Golodryga asked, “Thomas, Israel is citing security concerns with regards to the number of trucks that are going into Gaza. And on Saturday, the IDF said that it found dozens of rockets hidden under boxes marked with UNRWA’s insignia in northern Gaza. Another issue I’d like to raise with you is an Israeli reporter over the weekend from Channel 13 cited one of the abductees who had returned back to Israel and said that he was held by an UNRWA teacher, a father of ten. This teacher locked the victim away, barely provided food, and neglected medical needs. UNRWA responded to this post and said, ‘Making serious allegations in the public domain, unsupported by any evidence or verifiable facts in support thereof may amount to misinformation.’ That reporter then responded and said, that’s not an allegation. That’s [a] survivor’s testimony. How is UNRWA investigating or responding to these two quite damning allegations?”
White answered, “So, what I can speak to is our aid. Essentially, the aid that UNRWA is bringing in goes directly into the hands of the refugees. So, on any given day here, we are distributing over 50,000 bags of flour to families so that they can provide for themselves. We account for that –.”
Golodryga then cut in to ask, “But does it bother you then? Does it bother you then at all that some of these trucks may be bringing — secretly smuggling in rockets or that UNRWA teachers are hiding abductees allegedly?”
White responded, “Look, our trucks are not bringing in rockets. Our trucks are bringing in wheat flour. They’re bringing in supplies that help families eke out a very basic existence. We have a very clear system of accountability. Every bag of flour that is provided is cross-referenced against people’s national identity number. And so, there are now hundreds of thousands of bags, literally wheat bags — wheat flour bags, in Gaza with the UNRWA logo on them. And they have all gone to families so that they can feed themselves.”
(h/t Daniel Rubenstein)
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