Defense officials said Israel had approved the construction of eight schools but rejected four, which the agency had asked to build near a Hamas facility in the Gaza City neighborhood of Tel al-Hawa, because the state fears they will be used as defenses for the organization.
UNRWA spokesman Adnan Abu Hasna told Ynet that the agency had planned to build the schools in open spaces, in areas containing mainly a population of refugees.
He also warned that Israel's refusal to transfer building materials for the schools' construction into the Strip would further exacerbate the shortage in classrooms.
"UNRWA was forced not to accept 40,000 students this year because of the lack of space in schools," said Abu Hasna.
Defense officials said Israel would reconsider and probably approve the transfer of materials into Gaza if new locations were found for the institutes of learning.
Hanan Greenberg contributed to this report
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