UN Team Arrives To Probe Charges That UN Vehicle Was Used To Carry Rocket
A United Nations team has arrived in Jerusalem to look into allegations by Israel that a UN ambulance driver was filmed
loading a Kassam rocket into his vehicle, a UN spokesman said today.
The team will meet with officials over the next few days and will be asking the Israeli Government and the UN Relief and
Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) to cooperate with them, Fred Eckhard said.
Early this week UNRWA Commissioner-General Peter Hansen said an investigation and analysis of the footage captured by an
Israeli drone established that the object in question was a patient stretcher.
Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who met with Israeli Ambassador to the UN Dan Gillerman to discuss the allegations, said
yesterday that he raised the point that if it is determined "that the facts are not correct, that [the Israelis] would
issue a disclaimer on their side."
The group, which was headed to the region on a previously scheduled visit to review UN operations there, will report
back to Mr. Annan after its return to New York, Mr. Eckhard said.
Meanwhile, clarifying recent media reports of UNRWA staff being held by Israeli authorities for their involvement in
terror activities, Mr. Eckhard said the Agency was aware of only one staff member in Gaza currently under detention.
"This individual has been held for over two years," he told the daily press briefing in New York. "He is still awaiting
In the West Bank, he added, there were 24 UNRWA staff in Israeli detention, but most were being held under
administrative detention without a charge or trial.
"Whenever an Agency staff member is detained, by any authority, UNRWA immediately writes requesting information about
the detained staff member," Mr. Eckhard said. "In the case of those detained by Israel, UNRWA has rarely received any
feedback or information."