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Israel Channel 2 retracts claim that militants used UNRWA ambulance

July 20, 2014 10:41 P.M. (Updated: July 31, 2014 12:17 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli Channel Two on Sunday retracted claims made a day before that an ambulance belonging to the UN's Palestine refugee agency UNRWA was used to transport militants, the organization said.

UNRWA said in a statement that the channel, which is Israel's highest-rating TV news network, had retracted the "false and damaging allegations" after being confronted with "incontrovertible evidence" that they were "baseless" by the organization.

"There are many false reports circulating about UNRWA right now. This is another regrettable example in that long catalog of sloppy journalism," said UNRWA Spokesman, Chris Gunness, in a statement.

"The constant repetition of baseless allegations about the UN allows false mythologies to take root. I encourage members of the public to treat them with the suspicion they deserve and I call on all journalists to check with us first before damaging the credibility of their organizations."

In the past, the Israeli military has used claims that militants use ambulances to transport weapons or hospitals to store them in order to justify attacks on those sites, which are prohibited under international law protecting civilians.

"UNRWA is working under incredible pressure right now in Gaza providing assistance to tens of thousands of people displaced by the fighting. Even during this extraordinarily difficult situation, we do our utmost to maintain the highest standards of neutrality for our staff, our property and in our installations," Gunness concluded.

Channel Two in the past published a similar retraction following claims that UNRWA had not maintain a neutral record.

UNRWA is the UN agency originally set up in 1949 to ensure for relief and development for the 750,000 Palestinian refugees expelled from what became the State of Israel in 1948.

Today, the agency provides health care, education, social services, and other forms of aid to nearly five million Palestinian refugees, including more than a million in the Gaza Strip.
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