Funding both sides of a conflict shows no regard for preserving human life.
“UNRWA workers accused of kidnapping woman, taking part in kibbutz massacre — report,” announced the Times of Israel on Monday. “Citing a US government dossier, NY Times details allegations against 12 staffers at UN agency on Oct. 7 that also include transporting the body of dead soldier; 7 suspects are teachers.”
“Details Emerge of U.N. Workers Accused of Aiding Hamas Raid,” was the devasting New York Times headline. The accompanying report proved even more shocking.
“One is accused of kidnapping a woman,” began the NYT in a tone of dire foreboding. “Another is said to have handed out ammunition. A third was described as taking part in the massacre at a kibbutz where 97 people died. And all were said to be employees of the United Nations aid agency that schools, shelters, and feeds hundreds of thousands of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.”
“The accusations are contained in a dossier provided to the United States government that details Israel’s claims against a dozen employees of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency who, it says, played a role in the Hamas attacks against Israel on Oct 7 or in their aftermath,” the Times revealed.
According to the UN Secretary-General, 9 of the 12 employees have since been fired. According to UNRWA, two of the accused employees are deceased though the agency failed to give any further information.
In response to the scandal, the United States quickly joined a growing list of countries suspending funding to the organization pending further investigation.
“U.S. suspends UNRWA funding after allegations that 12 staff took part in Oct. 7 attack,” reported the Jewish News Syndicate on January 26, 2024. “The U.S. ‘extremely troubled’ said State Department spokesman regarding UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East.”
Though the UN announced Friday that several of the involved employees had been fired, it has hardly satisfied critics who, they remind UN officials, have been warning about the creeping anti-Semitism, extremism, and terrorist ideology being promulgated by UNRWA for over a decade.
In March 2023, a blockbuster report revealed the ugly truth underpinning UNRWA.
“UN Teachers Call To Murder Jews, Reveals New Report,” revealed UN Watch in March. “Teachers and schools at the UN agency that runs education and social services for Palestinians regularly call to murder Jews and create teaching materials that glorify terrorism, encourage martyrdom, demonize Israelis, and incite antisemitism, reveals a new report by two independent research and monitoring groups.”
“Report finds incitement, antisemitism still prevalent in UNRWA classrooms,” added Ash Obel for the Times of Israel on March 15, 2023. “UN body responsible for Palestinian refugees reportedly continues to employ staff and maintain a curriculum that encourages martyrdom and glorifies terrorism.”
“The report, released on Tuesday by the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-se), written jointly with the UN Watch NGO, found 47 new instances of alleged incitement by UNRWA teachers and staff, despite the agency having previously pledged to remove such content and adopt a zero-tolerance policy for employees who incite to racism or murder,” added Obel.
The report was hardly the first warning about UNRWA. Nor was it the last.
“UNRWA has a ‘systematic problem’ of support for antisemitism and terrorism,” warned international human rights lawyer Hillel Neuer on i24 News on December 4, 2023.
“We have over the past several years brought before them and the world evidence of UNRWA teachers supporting jihadi terrorism throughout schools of UNRWA in Gaza, Lebanon, Syria, the West Bank, Jordan, and inevitably, what UNRWA’s response is to deny, to downplay, to try to dismiss any concerns rather than address the problem,” Neuer said.
“Cut U.S. Funding Over UNRWA’s Antisemitism,” begged Jason Bedrick and Brett D. Schaefer for the Washington Examiner on March 24, 2023
“UNRWA’s employees and classes have repeatedly promoted antisemitism and glorified terrorism despite commitments by management to stop these activities,” concluded the pair. “Seven decades later, it is clear that UNRWA is not helping resolve the Palestinian refugee challenge but is perpetuating it. Until these incidents cease, the U.S. should cease supporting UNRWA.”
UNRWA’s troubles may have only just begun, however.
“EU says it is reviewing funding for UNRWA, Romania suspends payments,” reported the Associated Press and Reuters on Monday. “The EU is demanding an ‘urgent’ audit of the UN Palestinian refugee agency UNRWA and says it is reviewing funding, following Israeli allegations that some staff participated in Hamas’s October 7 attack.”
“President Donald Trump suspended U.S. donations to UNRWA in 2019; President Joe Biden restored them in 2021, though he suspended them last week upon news of UNRWA’s involvement in terror,” noted the AP.
Now, it seems, there is a raft of evidence that 12 UNRWA employees did much more than talk about murdering Jewish people during the October 7 Hamas terrorist attack on Israel.
UNRWA, one of the largest employers in Palestine, is even now scrambling to claw back its funding.
But the U.S., its allies, and other U.N. participant nations are supporting Israel in its war against the terrorist forces of Hamas — terrorist forces that are also holding — in addition to almost 250 Israelis— the innocent citizens of Palestine hostage to their extremist, genocidal ideology.
For UNRWA to financially support the other side of the conflict, or worse — as is alleged by this latest trove of damning leaked documents — for its members actually to participate in a genocidal terrorist attack, is a scandal dire enough to raze the entire organization down to bedrock.
The October 7 terrorist attack on Israeli civilians that left over 1200 people dead continues to have a widespread effect on geopolitics. Perhaps now, the world will have no choice but to listen to dire warnings about the deep, internal rot at the heart of UNRWA.
(contributing writer, Brooke Bell)