Diplomacy

Expert: In Supporting Hamas through UNRWA, UN Complicit in Terror

Writing Friday in The Wall Street Journal, Claudia Rosett, a journalist in residence with the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, takes United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon to task for decrying the “suffering” in Gaza when it is one of his organization’s agencies, United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) is culpable in perpetuating the violence through its support of Hamas.

While UNRWA provides the civil infrastucture for Gaza, this allows Hamas to focus on building its military capacity.

But Gaza under Hamas is a place with only two basic industries: aid and terrorism. These are much entwined, and not solely because Hamas controls UNRWA’s staff unions in Gaza, where in 2012 a Hamas-affiliated slate swept 25 of 27 seats. In effect the U.N. group subsidizes Hamas. Among U.N. agencies in the Middle East, UNRWA is the largest employer, with a regular budget for 2014 of $731 million, and a total budget that, with emergency appeals, tops $1 billion. …

With the agency handling household chores, Hamas—especially since its bloody takeover of Gaza in 2007, ousting the Palestinian Authority’s Fatah—has found the time and resources to amass rocket arsenals (UNRWA last month reported finding rockets stashed in three of its vacant schools), to bombard Israel (sometimes in close proximity to UNRWA premises), and to build miles of concrete-reinforced tunnels extending into Israel for terrorist attacks. Israel, in its counteroffensive, has been accused by the U.N. of deadly strikes on UNRWA schools serving as shelters.

Rosett adds that problems with UNRWA are compounded because the agency has even less oversight than a typical UN agency leading to “UNRWA has ensured its own survival by transforming itself into the patron of Palestinian grievance, conferring refugee status down the generations, an unusual practice.”

In addition to the storage of weapons at UNRWA facilities no fewer than three times, the IDF found that a clinic marked with the organization’s logo housed a terror tunnel and was booby trapped by Hamas. UNRWA’s spokesman Chris Gunness has been so unremittingly hostile to Israel that Israel’s ambassador to the UN, Ron Prosor, called for his suspension.

In The Real Palestinian Refugee Crisis that was published in the May 2014 issue of The Tower magazine, Asaf Romirowsky wrote that “concerns about UNRWA-connected terrorism have increased dramatically since the Hamas takeover of the Gaza Strip in 2007.”

[Photo: Ad Meskens / WikiCommons ]