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UNWRA: Aid Organization... for Hamas?

The full truth behind the project that perpetuates the conflict - the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees


Executive Summary

General background

  • UNRWA operates separately from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Thus, the Palestinians are the only group of refugees in the world that have their own dedicated agency to attend to their needs.

  • UNRWA reports on its activity in two main areas –

  1. Educational, in which 60% of its budget is invested. It runs more than 700 schools in Palestinian refugee camps in various countries and in places such as East Jerusalem. The school books are approved by the Palestinian Authority and are under UN supervision.

  2. Humanitarian, in which it assists Palestinian refugees in 59 refugee camps throughout the Middle East, where about a third of all the refugees registered in the organization live.

  • Funding: In 2022 the organization’s budget was nearly $1.055 billion USD, which were donated by 20 different countries. The countries that traditionally donate the largest sums of money are the USA ($344 million USD), Germany ($202 million USD), the European Union ($114 million USD) and Sweden ($61 million USD).

o According to data from UN Watch, 18 countries suspended their donations to UNRWA following the report on the involvement of some of the agency’s employees in the October 7 massacre. On the other hand, there are a number of countries that continue to provide donations.

o It appears that most of the donor countries have no oversight mechanism to monitor the purposes their aid money is used for.

Findings about UNRWA involvement in terror

  • The union: In the elections for the UNRWA staff union that took place in 2012, out of 27 places, 25 candidates of the list identified with the Hamas terrorist organization were elected. Between 2012 and 2017, the UNRWA staff union was headed by Suhail al- Hindi, a senior Hamas member who served as a member of its political bureau.

  • Use by terrorist organizations of UNRWA infrastructures: For years UN reports have exposed military use of UNRWA assets in the Gaza Strip by Hamas and the Islamic Jihad. The IDF discovered, in course of the Israel-Hamas War, that Hamas equipment was found in UNRWA bags; UN equipment was found in UNRWA buildings from which Hamas fired at IDF forces; documentation of firing at IDF forces from inside UN buildings; and the most incriminating - the vast terror tunnel that was dug under the main UNRWA headquarters in Gaza City, the entrance shaft of which being from an UNRWA school.

  • UNRWA employees took part in the October 7 massacre and subsequently helped Hamas in its war effort: o According to the Israeli defense establishment, at least 440 terrorists of the Hamas military wing are also employed in parallel in UNRWA; 2,000 more are Hamas operatives who are not in the military wing; and some 7,000 have afirst-degree family member who is a Hamas terrorist. In total, 9,500 of 12,000 UNRWA employees are linked to Hamas.o According to the Minister of Defense, at least 30 UNRWA employees in the Gaza Strip took part in the massacre;o According to the Wall Street Journal, some 23% of the men employed by UNRWA have links with Hamas, and 49% of all the employees in the organization have a relative with links to the terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip; o At least two UNRWA teachers held hostages in their homes. Education for terror by UNRWA• An extensive report by IMPACT-se provides details of the education for antisemitism and violence against Jews, glorification of the principle of jihad and praise for the martyrs and the goal of wiping out Israel. The report contains details of 118 Hamas operatives who were educated in UNRWA schools; photographs from UNRWA textbooks in the schools in the Gaza Strip and in Judea and Samaria, which teach the children that the Jews control money, the media and world politics; and suicide attackers are portrayed as heroes while the Jews living in the state of Israel are destined to be wiped off the face of the earth. Perpetuating the conflictUNRWA’s mission is to perpetuate the conflict, not to resolve it. Unlike other refugees in the world, Palestinian refugee status is not revoked even when they settle in another country and receive its citizenship. This way the number of UNRWA refugees has grown six-fold. The estimated number of 750,000 at the end of the War of Independence, has by now bloated to 6 million Palestinian refugees, among them some 2.4 million in Jordan, 1.6 million in the Gaza Strip, some 900,000 in Judea and Samaria.

Refugee status in the world

Refugee status in UNRWA

Revoked if they receive citizenship in another country

Remains even if they receive citizenship in another country

Revoked if there is reasonable suspicion of war crimes

Does not change if they carried out war crimes

Given with regardless of the time period

Given to anyone who was in the land of Israel between 1946–1948

Recommendations for the Israeli government1. Adopt an approach that supports immediate, total disbanding of UNRWA and

withdrawing recognition of it as an organization, in the Gaza Strip and in Judea and

Samaria, including preventing its activity there.

2. Transfer responsibility for all schools, clinics and UNRWA institutions in the Gaza Strip to

the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

3.Replace the mechanism for distributing the humanitarian aid by UNRWA in the Gaza Strip with another mechanism to be administered by the IDF as part of its temporary military rule in the Gaza Strip.

4.Immediately close all UNRWA institutions in Israel, and transfer the responsibility for all its responsibilities to the government ministries.

5.Revoke all tax benefits for UNRWA and its activity in Israel.

6.Issue an official government report on the UNRWA involvement in terrorism

Currently, there is no centralized place in Israel that collects and correlates all the official information on UNRWA’s practices. Bits of information are collected and kept in various locations and partial knowledge is published by the IDF. There is a need for an orderly government policy that can be presented to foreign governments and institutions for their review.


UNRWA Aid Organization To Hamas - IDSF
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