UK demands ‘absolute guarantee’ that UNRWA will never employ terrorists again

London had followed the U.S. lead to suspend funding of the Palestinian aid organization after Israel showed proof its Hamas staff participated in invasion.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

The UK has demanded an “absolute guarantee” that UNRWA will never employ terrorists again before it considers restarting its funding of the Palestinian aid organization.

“What we’re looking for is an absolute guarantee that this can’t happen again,” said Foreign Secretary David Cameron Wednesday during a visit to Bulgaria. “Let’s be clear here that it looks as if there were people working for UNRWA who took part in the October 7th attacks on Israel. That is unacceptable.”

London had followed the U.S. lead in suspending its annual contributions to the United Nations Relief Works Agency last month after Israel showed proof that a dozen staff members, mostly UNRWA school employees, were active members of Hamas and were involved in the invasion in which 1,200 people were slaughtered and 253 abducted to the Gaza Strip.

The initial investigation was followed by a report in which Israel estimated that fully 10% of UNRWA’s 13,000 employees in the coastal enclave were members of Hamas or other Gazan terror groups.

Almost 20 other countries halted their funding as well, including Japan, Canada, Germany and Australia.

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UN chief António Guterres quickly announced the appointment of an independent panel to review the charges and assess whether the agency was following its own procedures to ensure neutrality, a UN statement said. It would also examine whether the current procedures are adequate and make recommendations to improve them, all while “considering the particular operational, political and security environment in which the agency works.”

Former French foreign minister Catherine Colonna is heading the investigation with three research organizations: the Raoul Wallenberg Institute in Sweden, the Chr. Michelsen Institute in Norway and the Danish Institute for Human Rights. Their interim report is due in some six weeks.

The UN Office of Internal Oversight Services is conducting a parallel investigation as well.

Cameron said that the reviews should “take place quickly” because UNRWA is “the only network for distributing aid” in Gaza, where Palestinians “need it very, very badly.”

Israel has since discovered a major Hamas tunnel with command-and-control centers under UNRWA’s headquarters in Gaza, with power lines running into the basement that show it was providing the terrorists with the electricity they needed underground.

Other tunnels under UNRWA institutions have been found as well.  With all the evidence of the agency’s collusion with Hamas, Jerusalem is demanding that it be replaced by other groups who can provide help to ordinary Gazans, such as the World Food Program, USAID and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

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Jerusalem has long accused the UN agency of perpetuating the Palestinian-Israeli conflict primarily through incitement of hatred of Israel in its vast network of schools, and backs its complete overhaul, if not dismantlement.

UNRWA head Philippe Lazzarini told Irish television Tuesday that his agency would “hit a negative cashflow as from March, and then it will be accelerated in April unless this frozen contribution is unlocked.”