J Street is sickened, but not surprised, by news that a Hamas tunnel in the Gaza Strip runs underneath two schools operated by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency.
Hamas’s long history of terrorist violence against Israeli citizens is appalling, as is its practice of storing weapons and other material in secret tunnels built throughout heavily-populated civilian areas. It is particularly outrageous that they would build such tunnels in part underneath schools run by international agencies like UNRWA — schools that are intended to be places of learning, safety and relief from Gaza’s humanitarian crisis and Hamas’s frequent military confrontations with Israel.
We note that UNRWA did the right thing in strongly denouncing the existence of this tunnel as a violation of international law. UNRWA officials also determined that the tunnel has neither entry nor exit points at the school.
The humanitarian crisis and overall status quo in Gaza is totally untenable and continues to deteriorate. We urge the US government and the international community to work with Israeli and Palestinian authorities to find ways to improve the situation on the ground, and head off a new round of deadly hostilities.