UNRWA replacement petition garners 130,000 signatures

The petition notes that, over the past few months, it has been reported that about 1,200 UNRWA members have terrorist connections.

By Jack Elbaum, The Algemeiner

Geneva-based monitor group UN Watch has collected more than 130,000 signatures in support of replacing UNRWA — the UN agency responsible for Palestinian refugees — after it was exposed to have extensive connections to Palestinian terrorists.

The petition was announced at a UN Watch conference which aimed to “address the humanitarian situation in Gaza and formulate a plan for a future beyond UNRWA,” which the planners described as “a failed agency.”

The petition notes that, over the past few months, it has been reported that at least 12 UNRWA employees took part in Hamas’s October 7 terrorist attacks, about 1,200 UNRWA members have terrorist connections, thousands of UNRWA teachers are part of a Telegram channel that celebrated Hamas’s attack, and Hamas built a large tunnel under the UNRWA headquarters.

“Since its creation in 1949, the agency has brainwashed Gazans into believing that their home is not Gaza, but rather on the other side of the fence, in Israel,” the petition says, referencing the fact UNRWA counts Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank as refugees even though they are living in land they consider to be Palestine.

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“Enough is enough,” the petition concluded, “It’s time to stop the perverse logic of an agency that perpetuates war. It’s time to replace UNRWA.”

The show of popular opposition to UNRWA comes as a growing number of countries — more than a dozen so far — have pulled funding from the UN agency amid its many scandals.

The US State Department said “The United States is extremely troubled by the allegations that twelve UNRWA employees may have been involved in the October 7 Hamas terrorist attack on Israel,” and, consequently, it “has temporarily paused additional funding for UNRWA while we review these allegations and the steps the United Nations is taking to address them.”

Other countries, such as Japan, used similar language, noting that it was “extremely concerned” and that it would pause new funding until an investigation takes place.

Israel welcomed these developments. Israel’s Defense Minister, Yoav Gallant, said “major changes need to take place so that international efforts, funds and humanitarian initiatives don’t fuel Hamas terrorism and the murder of Israelis.”

However, others argue that, without UNRWA, Palestinians would have no way of obtaining critical humanitarian aid.

In January, U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said, after the Biden administration announced that it would pause funding to the agency, “Cutting off support to @UNRWA – the primary source of humanitarian aid to 2 million+ Gazans – is unacceptable. Among an organization of 13,000 UN aid workers, risking the starvation of millions over grave allegations of 12 is indefensible.”

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“The US should restore aid immediately,” she argued.