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Israel’s TV channel retracts false allegations

Updated July 21, 2014

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A destroyed ambulance is abandoned on a street following an Israeli military offensive on Gaza's Shejaiya district on July 20, 2014.—AFP photo
A destroyed ambulance is abandoned on a street following an Israeli military offensive on Gaza's Shejaiya district on July 20, 2014.—AFP photo

UNITED NATIONS: Israel’s highest-rating TV news network, retracted on Sunday false and damaging allegations that an ambulance was used to transport militants in Gaza on the night of July 19 of the UN refugee agency.

The false report by Channel Two’s military affairs correspondent was pulled after UNRWA presented incontrovertible evidence that the allegation was baseless, the UN agency said in a press statement here.

“There are many false reports circulating about UNRWA right now. This is another regrettable example in that long catalogue of sloppy journalism,” said UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness. “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 organisations.”

In October 2012, Israel Channel Two News was forced to publish a similar retraction following false claims about UNRWA’s neutrality record.

Gaza toll soars as Israel pounds north

In Gaza there are now more than 81,000 displaced people who have come to UNRWA seeking safe sanctuary. As a result of the recent huge displacement, UNWRA is now running 61 shelters across the Gaza Strip. This figure far exceeds the number seeking refuge in the 2008/9 conflict and it is continuing to rise.

“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 said.

Published in Dawn, July 21st , 2014