Answer to Mr. McCann

Should Mr. Hansen not have made these remarks, then it is fitting that I present to you an apology and retraction, which I do forthwith and without any rider…it is therefore my problem as to whether the original source, a reputable and respected journalist from a well-implanted newspaper, was misled.

I understand that at this moment in time, extreme pressure is being exerted on all sides to contain this conflict. I also understand that the press at present is extremely sensitive. Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey

I write in reply to the following letter:

Dear Mr Bancroft-Hinchey,

I am writing in regards to an article published under your name in Pravda on-line on April 20 of this year with the headline: "ISRAEL AND USA VS. THE WORLD".

In the article you quote Mr Peter Hansen, commissioner general of UNRWA (the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees) as saying in regards to Jenin:

“In a few words, this is hell and it is not an exaggeration to speak of a massacre. Until now I have avoided to use the term 'massacre' but after what I have seen, there is no other word to describe it".

I know that Mr Hansen has deliberately, and carefully, avoided the use of the word "massacre" in relation to what happened in Jenin in April this year, so I extremely curious to discover where you got your quote. If it came from a newspaper library or a wire service I need to be able to contact it to have the quote pulled, as it was certainly never uttered by Mr Hansen.

I wonder if you could also tell me where I might address a letter of correction to your newspaper, as the Pravda on-line web site does not appear to have a letters page.

Best Regards, Paul McCann Chief, Public Information Office UNRWA HQ Gaza

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