UN Employees Accused of War Crimes and Aiding Hamas

Politics - February 4, 2024

Israeli intelligence files allege the involvement of numerous UN employees in kidnappings and killings during the Hamas attack on October 7, which triggered the Gaza war. The comprehensive six-page dossier accuses 190 UNRWA employees, including teachers, of being actual Hamas or Islamic Jihad militants. The document identifies 11 individuals by name and images, providing proof of their actions.

What is UNRWA?

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees, or UNRWA, was established by the UN in 1949 to provide assistance to Palestinians who had fled or were expelled after the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948. The agency asserts that the descendants of these refugees also have the right to benefit from its services, and it currently estimates the total number of those targeted to be 5.9 million people. With over 30,000 employees, mostly Palestinians, UNRWA has 12,000 of them in the Gaza Strip, according to Reuters. UNRWA is also active in Jordan and Lebanon.

What is in the dossier?

An anonymous source provided Reuters with the dossier, compiled by Israeli services and shared with the US, leading to the suspension of funding. Following the lead of the United States, the UK, Italy, Finland, Australia, and Canada have announced the suspension of funding for the UN Agency for Palestinian Refugees. The accusations against UNRWA have sparked global outrage. An Israeli official told Reuters that potentially 190 UN employees are “experienced fighters, killers,” and it is believed that approximately 10% of UNRWA staff in total are, in some way, affiliated with Hamas and the Islamic Jihad.

The information in the dossier is based on data from mobile phones, interrogations of captured Hamas fighters, and documents recovered from killed militants, reports The Wall Street Journal. Among the 11 accused UNRWA employees involved in the Hamas attack on Israeli territory, seven were teachers or high school professors, including two mathematics teachers and two Arabic teachers, according to the publication.

The document alleges that one of the 11 individuals is a school counselor who assisted his son in abducting a woman during the Hamas infiltration, during which Israel claims 1,200 people were killed and 253 were kidnapped. Another person, identified as an UNRWA social worker, is accused of unspecified involvement in transporting a deceased Israeli soldier’s body to Gaza. Additionally, they are alleged to have coordinated the movements of pickup trucks used by the attackers and managed the supply of weapons. A third individual mentioned in the dossier is accused of participating in a violent incident in the Israeli border village of Beeri, where one-tenth of the residents were murdered in cold blood. The fourth person is accused of involvement in an attack on Reim, which involved the overrun of an army base and a rave where over 360 young people died.

Israel wants the head of the UN

The UN’s attitude towards Israel could be considered by observers to be a hostile one, and the beginning of the war in Gaza has only amplified this. The epitome of this attitude could be considered none other than Antonio Guterres, the General Secretary of the UN. In October he declared about the Hamas attack that “it did not come out of nowhere” but “after 56 years of occupation”.

Now calls for his resignation are being echoed by Israeli diplomats and the FA Minister, Israel Katz. In response, Guterres vowed to find those employees that directly collaborated with Hamas, and bring them justice, but implored that the funding of the controversial UNRWA remain in place.

“The tens of thousands of men and women who work for UNRWA, many in some of the most dangerous situations for humanitarian workers, should not be penalized,” Guterres said on Sunday. “The dire needs of the desperate populations they serve must be met.” – Antonio Guterres