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Envoy: Hamas the' Real Culprit' in UN School Strike


JERUSALEM, Israel -- Israel is facing fresh accusations of hitting another UN school in Gaza Sunday.

That comes as Israel appears to be scaling back in fight for now and preparing for a possible drawdown.

A number of tanks and other vehicles were seen leaving Gaza. Security officials said the tunnel mission was winding down.

At the same time, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Hamas would pay an "intolerable price" if it continued to fire rockets at Israel and that all options remain on the table.

Israel has been under fire by both the United Nations and the United States since last week after an attack at a U.N. school left 20 people dead.

The White House called that attack at the U.N. school unacceptable and indefensible.

But Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer told CBN News the incident demonstrates how Hamas places its military infrastructure in civilian areas and continues to use Palestinians as human shields.

"They are forcing Israel in order to defend ourselves to attack those areas," Dermer said. "They want us to kill Palestinian civilians because what they hope to do is to take those horrible pictures that would move any decent person."

"When you see children who are killed, when you see civilians who are killed, even in the most cautious war that can happen and certainly when you have an enemy like Hamas," he explained. "What Hamas wants those pictures to do is lead to international outrage and pressure on Israel."

Dermer said when the world sees those pictures, it needs to pressure the real culprit: Hamas.

"The question is -- are we going to break this cycle of human shields?" he challenged. "Are we finally going to have the picture to have and pressure to lead to pressure on Hamas?

"If the pictures lead to pressure on Hamas, the chances of them doing this over and over go down," he continued.

"If it leads to Israel, you are not only endangering Israel, you are primarily endangering Palestinian civilians because they will continue to use their own civilians as human shields. It's sick, it's grotesque and it's got to stop," Dermer said.

During the conflict, Hamas rockets were found in three U.N. schools.

"As a journalist who covers Gaza and UNRWA, I was not all surprised that rockets were found in the UNRWA schools," journalist and author David Bedein told CBN News.

Bedein, author of the book, Roadblock to Peace: How the U.N. Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict, has studied what he sees as an incestuous relationship between the UNRWA and Hamas inside the Gaza Strip.

"Our agency warned the United States government, the Canadian government, the European Union -- and those are the prime supporters of UNRWA -- that there were military training and weapons in the camp, in all of the camps in Gaza. Our agency was ignored despite the facts," Bedein said.

Dermer said lawmakers on Capitol Hill are beginning to ask questions.

"How did they allow their schools to be used as weapons depots? These are very serious issues that can corrupt the entire U.N. system that are supposed to be there to protect civilians, that are supposed to be there to help the innocent -- not to allow their shelters to be used as basically military infrastructure for Hamas," Dermer said.

"It's just basically unacceptable and more and more people are asking questions," he said.

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