Reached by telephone, Hansen said Saturday his organization was investigating the claims made by the IDF. He claimed the IDF had in the past made false allegations against UNRWA.“We are doing our best to see what is the basis for these allegations,” Hansen said.Speaking to The Jerusalem Post, Hansen said he was on his way to Jerusalem in the hopes of seeing higher-resolution footage of the incident. He added that he has ordered an investigation of all ambulance drivers and orderlies.“This won’t be the first time false allegations have been made against us. Everyone who has seen the footage has told me the object looks more like a folded-up stretcher than anything else. Especially since it was being carried with one hand. A Kassam rocket would be too heavy for a man to carry with one hand.”
I’ve seen it on TV a few times more. It is far clearer on TV, much better quality. It is quite clear that what the man is carrying and loading into the vehicle is a long metal tube.
According to the IDF website, the Kassam 1 rocket is about 2 meters long and weighs on average 5.5 KG. The Kassam 2 weighs an estimated 32KG, and the Kassam 3 weighs roughly 90 KG.
Update: Ha’aretz have more on Hansen’s rebuttal.
Hansen told Haaretz that it is easy to prove that the suspicious looking object in the photo is a stretcher. According to Hansen, the image broadcast on television shows two men approaching two ambulances, one of whom is carrying an object that could not weigh more than a few kilos. He said that he had learned from a simple Google search that a Qassam rocket is 1.80 meters long and weighs 50 kilos.The photographic image, on the other hand, Hansen explained, reveals an object 5 centimeters wide, while the Qassam has a diameter of 17 centimeters. A piece of cloth, he added, was clearly visible in the photo, which proves it was an ambulance stretcher, and naturally, this is what the ambulance crew were carrying. Hansen also said that he is concerned that the IDF’s unfounded accusations might lead to incitement, since soldiers who give credence to the IDF statement, may become suspicious of every ambulance that arrives at a checkpoint, putting UNRWA crews in grave danger.
Several months ago, Israel complained that Hansen had submitted exaggerated reports to the UN about the number of houses demolished by the IDF in Rafah. Recently, Hansen said that he was forced to send foreign workers employed by UNRWA out of the Gaza strip, because Israel had been harassing them. An inquiry later revealed that the decision to remove the workers had been motivated by fear of violence at the hands of Palestinian elements.Israel also complained to Annan following the publication of an article by Hansen in the International Herald Tribune in which he denounced Israel in harsh language.In its denial, an UNRWA source said: “The occupation authorities didn’t present any evidence to prove such claims and allegations.” The source added: “UNRWA just offers humanitarian aide to the Palestinians, and it is not part of the ongoing conflict.”“Until now, the Israeli government has not officially contacted UNRWA concerning these allegations and claims, which UNRWA totally rejects, because this would hurt its credibility in doing its job,” said the source.
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