Since the beginning of this year BBC audiences have seen extensive coverage of the topic of US aid donations to the Palestinians and since the end of August items relating to the US administration’s decision to cease funding UNRWA have frequently featured on BBC platforms.
In contrast, visitors to the BBC News website have not seen any coverage whatsoever of a story which broke on October 1st and was covered by many local and international media outlets.
“The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) had evacuated 10 of its international senior employees from Gaza to Israel on Monday, after they were threatened and harassed by UNRWA’s disgruntled local Palestinian staff following the agency’s announcement to cut more than 250 jobs.
The agency’s senior officials were rescued and transferred to Israeli territory via the Erez crossing—which remained closed throughout the Jewish holidays but was re-opened by the Israeli security officials following an official request from UNRWA.
The Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories issued an official statement, confirming the incident.
“A number of foreign UNRWA employees have been evacuated from the Gaza Strip to Israel. This is due to the tensions as a result of the financial crisis UNRWA is facing and subsequent concern for the safety of its foreign staff,” stressed the statement.
“The Hamas terrorist organization did not protect the agency’s staff from the violence directed against them,” the statement concluded.”
UNRWA put out a statement of its own (which it is difficult to believe the BBC did not receive) that interestingly does not mention Hamas by name but “calls upon the local authorities” to protect its staff.
Despite its record of covering stories about UNRWA operations in the Gaza Strip very generously, remarkably the BBC did not find a story about the agency’s foreign employees being threatened by local residents remotely newsworthy.