Connect with us


UN-Aware? Media Defend UNRWA as Agency Plays Dumb About Hamas Tunnels Under HQ

Palestinians pass by the gate of an UNRWA-run school in Nablus in the West Bank. Photo: Reuters/Abed Omar Qusini.

Within hours of the IDF revealing the extensive tunnel beneath UNRWA’s headquarters in the Gaza Strip, the UN agency’s Commissioner-General, Philippe Lazzarini, was on the defensive.

“UNRWA did not know what is under its headquarters in Gaza,” he claimed on the social media site X (formerly Twitter), prompting a fair amount of ridicule given UNRWA’s long history of seeing its facilities used by Hamas to hide terrorist infrastructure.

Lazzarini added 10 more equally unconvincing points underneath, including an assurance that no UNRWA staff were “aware of any activity that may have taken place there.”

Strange that nobody who worked at UNRWA’s Gaza HQ noticed the cables that diverted electricity directly from UNRWA’s supply and right into Hamas’ control room below.

Likewise, they must have missed all of the other blindingly obvious clues as to who was sharing their basement, like terrorists filing in and out of the headquarters daily, and computers and steel doors being delivered to the facility.

Indeed, as one journalist observed, it took a total of “two minutes touring UNRWA’s headquarters in the heart of the upscale Rimal neighborhood to understand that they knew everything.”

– UNRWA did not know what is under its headquarters in Gaza.

– UNRWA is made aware of reports through the media regarding a tunnel under the UNRWA Headquarters in Gaza.

– UNRWA staff left its headquarters in Gaza City on 12 October following the Israeli evacuation orders and as…

— Philippe Lazzarini (@UNLazzarini) February 10, 2024

Yet, when evidence was released by the IDF of the Hamas command center being quite literally beneath UNRWA’s nose, it was met with what could only be described as sheer incredulity at The New York Times, while some other media outlets treated this dramatic discovery with barely an acknowledgment.

Rather than report on the IDF’s disturbing findings, particularly how it is likely UNRWA staff knew of the terror base, the Times reframed the story to push a wildly distorted narrative of a plucky UNRWA fighting against Hamas in the Strip and resisting the terror group’s efforts to infiltrate the UN agency:

Worryingly, the piece only mentions the uncovering of the tunnels beneath UNRWA’s offices in the 17th paragraph, with the article’s authors, Patrick Kingsley and 

Most of the story is instead dedicated to an implicit defense of UNWRA, including anonymous former staffers’ assurances that the agency has “long taken seriously and investigated accusations of infiltration by Hamas,” and the Times casting doubt on whether UNRWA staff would have spotted the tunnels.

What’s more, at least one journalist from the paper, along with various other domestic and foreign media, was physically taken on a tour of the tunnel by the IDF, which should have left no doubt as to the magnitude of the story.

Sadly, The New York Times wasn’t alone in its effort to recast UNRWA as an innocent victim in this whole saga.

The Associated Press appeared to suggest Israel had only “unveiled” the tunnels as a way of attacking UNRWA in a piece that stated: “The unveiling of the tunnels marked the latest chapter in Israel’s campaign against the embattled agency, which it accuses of collaborating with Hamas.”

CNN, meanwhile, relegated the story to a short post included in its live updates feed. Casting doubt on the existence of the tunnels at all, CNN turned the story into mere “claims” made by Israel against the UN agency, describing the tunnel as an “alleged finding.”

It couched the finding as occurring against a backdrop in which “Israel has longstanding issues with UNRWA,” suggesting the evidence is part of some nefarious campaign against an organization tasked with caring for Palestinians.

Judging from the lack of a dedicated story, it appears nobody from CNN was represented on the IDF’s press tour of the UNRWA tunnel. But the simple fact that multiple journalists from other top-tier publications were able to verify the findings for themselves makes one wonder why CNN didn’t see the stories from those media that had been on the tour.

At least that’s what The Washington Post did when it stated: “The military showed journalists from the Associated Press and other outlets what it said was an electrical supply hub powering tunnel infrastructure in the area.”

Sadly, the tunnel story was buried 12 paragraphs in at the end of The Post’s war coverage, and framed as Israel having “taken aim” at UNRWA.

In summary, the international media were presented with further damning evidence of UNRWA’s infiltration by Hamas terrorists in the form of its HQ directly above a Hamas base.

So why did they have such trouble believing the evidence or treating it in a way that isn’t portrayed as an Israeli assault on UNRWA?

The author is a contributor to HonestReporting, a Jerusalem-based media watchdog with a focus on antisemitism and anti-Israel bias — where a version of this article first appeared.

The post UN-Aware? Media Defend UNRWA as Agency Plays Dumb About Hamas Tunnels Under HQ first appeared on

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


University of Toronto seeks injunction to end protest encampment over ‘harmful, discriminatory’ speech outlined in court filing

The University of Toronto is now seeking a court injunction to put and end to the encampment in King’s College Circle after the 8 a.m. deadline passed Monday morning—while unionized workers joined students, faculty and other protesters at a rainy morning rally. Shortly after the ultimatum hour, the university announced in a statement from UofT […]

The post University of Toronto seeks injunction to end protest encampment over ‘harmful, discriminatory’ speech outlined in court filing appeared first on The Canadian Jewish News.

Continue Reading


Monday morning saw the Toronto community and politicians showing support for the Chabad girls’ school struck by weekend gunfire

Mayor Olivia Chow was among those who addressed the crowd.

The post Monday morning saw the Toronto community and politicians showing support for the Chabad girls’ school struck by weekend gunfire appeared first on The Canadian Jewish News.

Continue Reading


‘A Call for Genocide’: South African Jews Blast Country’s President for Chanting ‘From the River to the Sea’

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa in Chatsworth, South Africa, May 18, 2024. Photo: REUTERS/Rogan Ward

South African Jewish leaders castigated their country’s president, Cyril Ramaphosa, for what they described as him calling for a “genocide” against Jews in Israel over the weekend.

Ramaphosa was speaking at an election rally in Johannesburg on Saturday when he deviated from his prepared speech to lead the crowd in in a chant of “From the River to the Sea, Palestine shall be free” — a popular slogan among anti-Israel activists that has been widely interpreted as a call for the destruction of the Jewish state, which is located between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea.

The address took place at FNB Stadium, where South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) held its final rally before South African elections on Wednesday. According to Politicsweb, a news website focused on South Africa, a call for the release of the “hostages held in Gaza” who Hamas terrorists kidnapped from southern Israel on Oct. 7 appeared in Ramaphosa’s prepared remarks but not in his final speech.

The South African Jewish community lambasted Ramaphosa for his remarks in a statement shared with The Algemeiner, expressing “its revulsion at the introduction of a call to exterminate Jews from their homeland” by the president.

“The president of the ruling ANC party and the head of state of a democratic country has called for the elimination of the only Jewish state in the culmination of the ANC president’s election speech made to thousands of ANC members and on national television,” said Wendy Kahn, national director of the South African Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD). “He uses the populist slogan ‘From the river to the sea, Palestine will be Free,’ which is widely regarded as a call to genocide of the Jewish people. The call to remove all Jews from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea equates to removing all Jews from Israel.”

Kahn compared the slogan with Hamas’ goal to “see Israel as ‘Judenfrei,’ or Jew free,” before noting that such an endpoint contradicts the South African government’s stated policy of supporting a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“The chanting of this slogan by a head of state of a government that recurrently tries to express their commitment to a ‘two-state Solution’ as their policy on Israel and Palestine is hypocritical to the full,” the SAJBD said. “How does a sitting president reject his own government and own party’s international relations policy? This reconfirms our understanding that President Ramaphosa and his government are not looking for a peaceful solution to the tragic conflict, but rather to cause discord among fellow South Africans against its Jewish community.”

Kahn added, “The president’s contempt for South African Jewry is evident in this unscripted outburst at the rally which amounts to nothing more than Jew hatred. The SAJBD is reviewing its options for holding the president accountable for these hateful words.”

South Africa’s ANC government has been one of the harshest critics of Israel since Oct. 7, when Hamas terrorists launched the ongoing war in Gaza with their invasion of and massacre across southern Israeli communities.

South Africa temporarily withdrew its diplomats from Israel and shuttered its embassy in Tel Aviv shortly after the Oct. 7 Hamas pogrom, saying that the Pretoria government was “extremely concerned at the continued killing of children and innocent civilians” in Gaza.

In December, South Africa hosted two Hamas officials who attended a government-sponsored conference in solidarity with the Palestinians. One of the officials had been sanctioned by the US government for his role with the terrorist organization.

Earlier this month, members of South Africa’s Jewish community protested Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor’s recent call for students and university leaders to intensify the anti-Israel demonstrations that have engulfed college campuses across the US.

In January, the South African government failed in its bid to argue before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) that Israel’s defensive war in Gaza constituted a “genocide.” However, the top UN court last week ordered Israel to halt its military operations against the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas in the southern Gaza city of Rafah. The emergency ruling was part of South Africa’s ongoing case at the ICJ.

The post ‘A Call for Genocide’: South African Jews Blast Country’s President for Chanting ‘From the River to the Sea’ first appeared on

Continue Reading

Copyright © 2017 - 2023 Jewish Post & News