Israeli intel shows 10% of UNRWA workers in Gaza have ties to terror groups — report
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Israel at war50% have close relative with ties to terror groups

Israeli intel shows 10% of UNRWA workers in Gaza have ties to terror groups — report

Wall Street Journal says document alleges around 1,200 Gaza employees of UN agency for Palestinian refugees have connections to either Hamas or Palestinian Islamic Jihad

Remnants of a Kfar Aza home that was destroyed by Hamas terrorists on Oct. 7.  (Photo by Rabbi Seth Adelson)
Remnants of a Kfar Aza home that was destroyed by Hamas terrorists on Oct. 7. (Photo by Rabbi Seth Adelson)

Israeli intelligence assesses that some 10% of all UNRWA employees in Gaza have ties to terror organizations, in addition to at least 12 employees it says were involved in the October 7 terror onslaught in southern Israel, according to a new report.

The Wall Street Journal said Monday that intel Jerusalem shared with the US indicated that of the roughly 12,000 Gazan employees of the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees, some 1,200 have ties to either Hamas or the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

The report further stated that around 50% of the UN agency’s employees in Gaza have at least one close relative with ties to the terror groups.

The Associated Press said it saw an Israeli document alleging that at least 190 UNRWA workers were themselves Hamas or Islamic Jihad operatives, without providing evidence. It was not clear whether it was the same document.

The latest accusations prompted UNRWA to announce on Friday that it had fired several employees over the unspecified accusations. Despite that move, since the announcement many donors including the US, Germany, Britain, Italy, Australia and Finland have suspended funding to the agency pending an investigation.

A dossier provided to The Wall Street Journal by the US government on Monday examined the involvement of UNRWA employees in the October 7 terror onslaught, in which thousands of Hamas-led terrorists burst into Israel from Gaza, slaughtering some 1,200 people and seizing 253 hostages.

According to the dossier, an UNRWA school counselor from Khan Younis in southern Gaza was suspected of working with his son to abduct a woman from Israel, while a social worker from the central Gaza city of Nuseirat was accused of helping snatch a dead Israeli soldier to Gaza.

A third UNRWA employee was said by the New York Times to have taken part “in the massacre at a kibbutz where 97 people died” — apparently Kibbutz Be’eri, which was ravaged on October 7 in the Hamas-led attack.

One other worker was said to have been tracked to the site of the Supernova music festival near Re’im, where 360 people were slaughtered, while others coordinated logistics and procured weapons ahead of and on October 7.

According to the Reuters news agency, two of the alleged Hamas operatives cited in the dossier are described as “eliminated,” having been killed by Israeli forces. A 12th Palestinian whose name and picture are provided is said to have no factional membership and to have infiltrated Israel on October 7 independently as masses joined the terrorists raiding Israeli communities.

Also on the list of the 12 men are an UNRWA teacher accused of arming himself with an anti-tank rocket, another teacher accused of filming a hostage, and the manager of a shop at an UNRWA school accused of opening a war room for Islamic Jihad.

Speaking to The Wall Street Journal, a senior Israeli government official said: “UNRWA’s problem is not just a few bad apples involved in the October 7 massacre. The institution as a whole is a haven for Hamas’s radical ideology.”

The accusations against UNRWA are the latest in a long line of Israeli complaints about the UN agency, such as that it allows anti-Israeli incitement to be taught in its hundreds of schools and that some of its staff collaborate with Hamas. The Trump administration suspended funding to the agency in 2018, but US President Joe Biden restored it.

Supporters of the agency have claimed that the allegations against it aim to diminish the long-festering refugee issue and called the cut in funding collective punishment.

Last week, UNRWA’s Commissioner General Philippe Lazzarini said he would appoint an independent entity to look into the claims — both “what is true or untrue” and “what is politically motivated.” He also said the accusations were hurting the agency’s already strained operations amid the humanitarian crisis caused by the war.

There are today 58 designated refugee camps where UNRWA operates, in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Unlike most war refugees around the world, the agency recognizes as refugees descendants of those displaced in 1948 amid Israel’s War of Independence, regardless of their circumstances.

Critics allege this has fostered and encouraged a decades-long culture of dependence and victimhood among Palestinians.

On Monday, a spokesperson for the agency said that if funding is not restored, it will not be able to continue operations in Gaza and across the region beyond the end of February.

Germany said in response that UNRWA is not the only source of humanitarian aid for Palestinians and that other avenues can be explored.

The Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza has said that more than 26,000 people have been killed since the start of the war in Gaza, though these figures cannot be independently verified, and are believed to include both civilians and Hamas members killed in Gaza, including as a consequence of terror groups’ own rocket misfires.

The IDF says it has killed over 9,000 terror operatives in Gaza, in addition to some 1,000 terrorists inside Israel on October 7.

The United Nations estimates that more than 85% of Gaza’s 2.3 million residents have been displaced as a result of the intensive ground operation and aerial bombardment carried out by Israel, which vowed to eradicate Hamas from Gaza and end its 16-year rule.

As the war has pressed on, forcing civilians to move further and further south, people have become increasingly reliant on the humanitarian aid provided by UNRWA and many more have had to make their new homes inside shelters operated by the UN agency. PJC

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