UN Palestine agency rejects Israeli smear campaign on Google

Allegations of Hamas' infiltration of UN agency are unfounded, says UNRWA spokesman Jonathan Fowler

14:16 - 14/06/2024 Friday
File photo
File photo

The UN Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA) on Friday dismissed as "unrealistic" the claims made against it in Israeli advertisements appearing on Google.

UNRWA spokesman Jonathan Fowler confirmed to Anadolu on Thursday that allegations of Hamas's infiltration of the UN agency are unfounded.

The Israeli government's claims appear as "sponsored links" at the top of Google search results for UNRWA, according to Anadolu.

These links on the Tel Aviv administration's website include unsubstantiated allegations, such as UNRWA employees' involvement in the Oct. 7, 2023 attack and assertions that the UN agency has been infiltrated by Hamas and other groups.

Fowler stated that they conducted repeated investigations and took corrective action when allegations of neutrality violations arose, both during and before the war in Gaza.

He pointed out that there is no evidence of the involvement of any of the agency's employees in the Oct. 7 attack on settlements adjacent to the Gaza Strip.

He added that investigations are ongoing into the allegations against about a dozen employees, emphasizing that these remain allegations regardless of how they are portrayed.

In another investigation conducted by the United Nations Office of Internal Oversight Services on April 26, one of the 19 UNRWA employees accused by Israel of involvement in the Oct. 7 attack was cleared of charges.

The office suspended investigations into four employees due to insufficient evidence provided by Israel.

Independent investigations are ongoing for the remaining 14 employees, and thus far, no evidence of misconduct has been uncovered.

Meanwhile, Google did not respond to Anadolu's inquiry about whether the ads targeting UNRWA were restricted to searches within the United States.

Google simply stated that it reviewed the advertisements and found no violations of its advertising policies.

Israel has faced international condemnation amid its continued brutal offensive on Gaza since an Oct. 7 despite a UN Security Council resolution demanding an immediate cease-fire.

More than 37,200 Palestinians have since been killed in Gaza, most of them women and children, and over 85,000 others injured, according to local health authorities.

Eight months into the Israeli war, vast tracts of Gaza lay in ruins amid a crippling blockade of food, clean water and medicine.

Israel stands accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice, whose latest ruling ordered Tel Aviv to immediately halt its operation in the southern city of Rafah, where over a million Palestinians had sought refuge from the war before it was invaded on May 6.

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