About 1,200 UNRWA staffers have links to Hamas, thousands more closely related to terrorists: Israeli dossier

About 1,200 UNRWA staffers have links to Hamas, thousands more closely related to terrorists: Israeli dossier


Around 1,200 staffers with the UN’s Palestinian refugee aid agency have links to Hamas — and thousands more of the workers are closely related to members of Gaza terror groups, according to an Israeli dossier.

The damning report — built through interrogations of Hamas terrorists and recovered documents in Gaza — alleges that about 10% of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency’s 12,000 workers in Gaza have ties to Hamas or Palestinian Islamic Jihad, the Wall Street Journal said.

Among all of the agency’s workers, nearly half — or around 6,000 — have close kin in the militant organizations, which have ruled Gaza since 2007, according to the intelligence, which was given to the US.

Those with ties to the terror groups were considered “operatives,” meaning they took part in Hamas’ military or political activities, the report said.

“UNRWA’s problem is not just ‘a few bad apples’ involved in the Oct. 7 massacre — the institution as a whole is a haven for Hamas’ radical ideology,” a senior Israeli government official told the Journal.

About 10% of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency ‘s 12,000-member workforce has close ties with Gaza terror groups, according to Israeli intelligence. AFP via Getty Images
The aid agency is responsible for distributing the bulk of assistance to Gaza’s nearly 2 million refugees. REUTERS

UNRWA declined to comment on the allegations that its ranks were filled with Hamas relatives, noting that an internal UN investigation of the agency was ongoing after 12 members were accused last week of taking part in the Oct. 7 terrorist attack.

While 15% of the average adult males in Gaza have some ties to Hamas, the intelligence report indicated that a significantly higher percentage — nearly a fourth — of UNRWA’s male employees had connections to the group, alleging that the terror group may have had more influence on the aid agency than on the population at large.

The apparent politicalization of the aid group has been previously flagged by Israel, which found that former UNRWA union chief Suhail al-Hindi had been elected to a senior role in Hamas in 2017.

UNRWA quickly fired al-Hindi after the release of the intelligence report.

UNRWA has long been accused of spreading anti-Israeli sentiments at its refugee camps. Xinhua/Shutterstock

The aid organization has fired nine of the 12 staffers accused of actively participating in Hamas’ terror activities, including an Arabic teacher who was revealed to be a militant commander who took part in the slaughter at Kibbutz Be’eri on Oct. 7.

Two of the dozen are already dead, and the fate of the 12th is unclear.

The fired staffers included other teachers and social workers who assisted with the terror attack that left more than 1,200 people dead and more than 240 others kidnapped.

UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini criticized nations for halting funds to the aid group after Israel’s report. via REUTERS
At least 12 UNRWA employees had direct involvement in the Oct. 7 terrorist attack, according to intelligence documents. REUTERS

The allegations facing the agency have shaken the world’s confidence in its ability to provide aid for the nearly 2 million Palestinian refugees caught in the middle of the Israel-Hamas war.

Ten nations, including the US, have cut millions of dollars in funding to UNRWA, with agency Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini criticizing the move as one that unjustly punishes the Palestinian population as a whole.

“Our humanitarian operation, on which 2 million people depend as a lifeline in Gaza, is collapsing,” Lazzarini said over the weekend. “I am shocked such decisions are taken based on alleged behavior of a few individuals and as the war continues, needs are deepening and famine looms.

“Palestinians in Gaza did not need this additional collective punishment. This stains all of us,” he added.

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