UN Secretary-General pleads for countries not to defund UNRWA after terror links revealed

UNRWA, the UN’s aid agency for Palestinians, was revealed to have extensive links to terror, with employees who took part in October 7th atrocities.

Susan Tawil, World Israel News Staff

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called on donor nations not to rescind their funding of the UN’s Palestinian aid agency UNRWA, following revelations of close ties between the UN agency and terrorist groups, and direct involvement by UNRWA employees in the October 7th atrocities.

A dossier obtained by The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal revealed that at least 10% of UNRWA’s employees have ties to Gaza terrorist groups, and a number of UNRWA employees took part in the October 7th attacks in southern Israel, including a massacre inside Israel and the kidnapping of an Israeli woman.

Based on video evidence, along with testimony from arrested Gazan terrorists, the Shin Bet (Israeli Secret Service) and the IDF collected evidence implicating UNRWA staff members as active participants in the October 7 invasion and savage massacre of unsuspecting citizens of Israeli towns surrounding the Gaza Strip.

The attack resulted in the murder and mutilation of some 1,200 Israelis, the wounding of over 5,000, and the abduction of 240 hostages, from babies to elderly. There is also proof that UNRWA vehicles and facilities were utilized in the attack, and evidence that many agency employees celebrated the atrocities on social media.

Responding to the report, Guterres said he is “horrified” by the accusations, while at the same time urging donor nations to reconsider their pull-out and continue to fund UNRWA.

Guterres says that nine of the twelve named employees have already been fired, and that the UN will launch an investigation into the misconduct, including filing criminal charges.

He added that if the funding is not restored, aid to millions of “desperate” Palestinians would have to be scaled back starting in February.

UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini said he is “shocked” that countries would suspend their aid “based on alleged behavior of a few individuals.”

A Hamas spokesman accused Israel of a “campaign of incitement” against UNRWA and warned countries to not “cave in to the threats and blackmail.”

Following the revelations of UNRWA’s ties to terrorism, a number of donor nations announced they have suspended support for the UN agency, including the US, the UK, Italy, Canada, Australia, France, Germany, Finland, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and Japan.

Together, they contribute more than 60% of the UNRWA budget of over $1.1 billion per year.

The US alone sent $344 million in 2022, and is one of the top contributors. Although President Trump stopped US funding for UNRWA in 2018, Biden restored the funding when he took office.

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Thirty thousand people work for UNRWA, with 13,000 of them stationed in Gaza. The rest are employed in Beirut, Lebanon; Aman, Jordan; Damascus, Syria; and Judea and Samaria (including Jerusalem), Israel; with a small number at international posts in New York, Geneva, Brussels, and Cairo.

UNRWA was established in 1949 to aid Palestinian refugees who fled Israel during the Jewish State’s 1948 War of Independence.

Seventy-five years later, the Agency now services some six million second, third, and fourth generation Palestinians who are still considered “displaced” refugees.

Of the 2.3 million living in Gaza, 2 million, or 87% of the population, remain unemployed and reliant on UNRWA aid. Right-wing Israelis say that continuing to grant refugee status to descendants (which is not done for any other refugees) only continues the Palestinian culture of dependency and perpetuates their conflict with Israel.

Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz said that UNRWA “serves as a civilian arm of Hamas in Gaza.”

He contended that many of its employees are “Hamas affiliates with murderous ideologies aiding in terror activities…”

Israeli Knesset members have long been trying to have UNRWA defunded, considering it a tool of Hamas. MK Sharren Haskel said countries should stop funding the corrupt organization, and that it was time to “remove UNRWA’s mask.”

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