UN personnel have been subject to alleged mistreatment by Israeli military and authorities, according to internal UN documents obtained by UK’s The Guardian. Among the hundreds of incidents that have been documented are claims of UN staff being blindfolded, beaten, and subjected to verbal abuse at checkpoints in the West Bank. Israeli troops are said to have used UN facilities as firing positions during raids on refugee camps, resulting in the deaths of Palestinian civilians.

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) has been providing essential services to Palestinians in the occupied territories for decades and has been a target of Israeli forces.

UNRWA has denied Isreal’s “unsubstantiated” accusations of collaboration with Hamas. UNRWA’s spokesperson Juliette Touma described the incidents documented in the internal reports as part of a broader pattern of harassment against the organisation in the region.

In response, the Israeli military denied intentionally targeting or harassing UNRWA personnel in the West Bank. They maintain that they have a positive relationship with the organisation and other entities operating in the region.

However, tensions escalated with weekly protests outside UNRWA’s field office in East Jerusalem. An undisclosed shooting incident targeting a UNRWA truck driver earlier in the year is also under police investigation.

The internal documents further reveal challenges faced by UNRWA’s health centres in the West Bank, including shortages of crucial supplies due to delays in shipments held up by Israeli customs. Despite efforts to address these issues, Israel has continued to block or delay shipments. Israel has also been accused of violating UN privileges and immunities, with armed military personnel entering UNRWA installations during what it calls ‘security operations’ and causing damage to facilities.

These incidents raise serious concerns about the safety and security of UN personnel and the ability of humanitarian organisations to carry out their mandate effectively in the region. There are growing calls for accountability and respect for international humanitarian law to ensure the protection of civilians and humanitarian workers in the conflict-affected areas of the Palestinian territories.

Since 7 October, UNRWA has documented 135 incidents of Israeli forces targeting its clinics, schools, or offices, ranging from incursions to misuse and military operations that have endangered its premises. One such incident occurred on 8 December when Israeli security forces conducted a raid targeting militants in the al-Faara refugee camp in the northern West Bank. During the raid, they allegedly breached the gate of the UNRWA health centre, clearly marked with a UN flag and signage. Approximately ten armed Israeli security personnel entered the building, taking positions with firearms pointed towards the camp. In the raid, Israeli forces killed six Palestinians, including a 14-year-old.

In al-Arroub refugee camp, south of Bethlehem, heavy restrictions imposed by Israeli authorities have severely affected residents and UNRWA operations. Metal gates and blockades on backroads have hindered movement, with Israeli security forces closing new gates for three days following a stone-throwing incident at a watchtower.

Despite efforts to coordinate with Israeli authorities, UNRWA staff in and around the al-Arroub camp face ongoing obstacles such as blocked travel, vehicle searches, insults, and torture. Access procedures at checkpoints can change abruptly, complicating operational planning for UNRWA in the camp.

At least 50 people were killed and several others detained in a recent Israeli raid on Gaza’s al-Shifa Hospital, according to reports. Palestinian resistance groups have condemned the attack, labelling it as an “aggression against civilians” that will not achieve its intended goals.

The incident follows efforts to broker a ceasefire between Hamas and Israel. Mediator Qatar expressed cautious optimism following the initiation of indirect talks between the two parties.

The Palestinian Foreign Ministry condemned the increasing bombardment and destruction carried out by Israeli forces in Rafah.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for immediate action to prevent famine in northern Gaza. According to the latest statistics, 31,819 Palestinians have been killed and 73,934 injured in Israeli attacks on Gaza.