Sultan Knish blog
The UNRWA is on the front lines of the Hamas War in Gaza. In the
headlines, its schools are forever being fired on or found to be
stockpiling rockets. If individual Gazans are being used as human
shields, the UNRWA often seems as if it is one big organizational human
But the UNRWA isn't Hamas' human shield. The UNRWA is Hamas.
"UN" part of the UNRWA, the blue logos and symbols, fool us into
thinking of it as an international humanitarian organization. But the
UNRWA in Gaza functions as a large Palestinian Arab organization with a
smattering of foreign supervisory staff.
And those foreign staffers often tend to leave during a conflict.
UNRWA is not an international organization operating in the Middle
East. Effectively it's a local Arab Muslim organization funded and
regulated internationally. Since the UNRWA classifies 80% of Gazans as
"refugees", it administers the biggest welfare state in the world on
their behalf. Like the Palestinian Authority, the UNRWA's welfare state
is run locally and funded internationally.
The UNRWA is the
biggest employer in the West Bank and Gaza after the Palestinian
Authority and the vast majority of its employees are "locally
recruited". Varying figures place the share of local employees at
between 90 and 99 percent.
Even though there are more Arab
Muslims living in the West Bank than in Gaza, there are more "official"
refugees in Gaza, which means that more UNRWA funding and efforts are
directed there. The UNRWA only runs 96 schools in the West Bank, but it
runs 245 schools in Gaza. It employs less than 3,000 education staffers in the West Bank, but over 10,000 in Gaza.
does Hamas, which is obsessed with brainwashing the next generation
into martyrdom, allow a foreign organization to run an educational
system for 232,000 pupils?
It's because in Gaza, Hamas and the UNRWA are the same thing.
The UNRWA's Gaza staff has its own union. In the 2012 election, a pro-Hamas bloc won the support of most of the union with 25 out of 27 seats on a union board.
When there was talk of reforming the UNRWA by removing Hamas members from its ranks, the editor of a Hamas paper wrote that,
"Laying off the agency employees because of their political affiliation
means laying off all the employees of the aid agency, because…they are
all members of the ‘resistance,’ in its various forms."
official word from Hamas was that it and the UNRWA are the same thing.
The UNRWA's vast majority of locally sourced Gazans are part of Hamas.
The UNRWA does not see that as a problem.
am sure that there are Hamas members on the UNRWA payroll," a former
UNRWA Commissioner General said, "and I don’t see that as a crime."
as a political organization does not mean that every member is a
militant, and we do not do political vetting and exclude people from one
persuasion as against another," he said.
Also if the UNRWA fired Hamas members from its Gaza staff, it would have no one left.
which promote Islamic terrorism.
It's unsurprising that UNRWA schools have repeatedly become flashpoints
in conflicts between Israel and Hamas. The members of the Islamic
terrorist group aren't invading UNRWA schools to use them as human
shields. The UNRWA schools are Hamas bases of recruitment and operation.
current accusations and counter-accusations over attacks on and from
UNRWA schools are a reenactment of the same set of events taking place
in 2009. Only the locations and the names have changed. The same headlines,
“Israeli shelling kills dozens at UN school in Gaza,” and “Massacre of
Innocents as UN school is shelled” are repeating all over again.
as now, Hamas launched attacks on Israeli forces from around a UNRWA
school. Then it turned out that the attack had happened outside the
school and no one had actually died inside the school.
Nothing has changed since then. The "massacres" in which Hamas
terrorists using UNRWA schools as a base are killed pop up in every
paper. The UNRWA repeats the same lies.
Then it "discovers" Hamas rockets in three of its schools. And that's just the tip of the iceberg because every UNRWA school is a Hamas school.
The UNRWA has admitted that Hamas uses its schools to store rockets. It admits that it has Hamas members in its ranks. It admits that rockets have been fired "into Israel from the vicinity of UN facilities and residential areas."
What it refuses to admit is that it should in any way be held accountable for functioning as an arm of a terrorist organization.
If an organization consists largely of Hamas members who use it pursue Hamas goals, then the organization is Hamas.
The UNRWA is Hamas.
use of the UNRWA as its public face is a war crime, but terrorists
commit war crimes without a second thought. But the UN and the UNRWA are
complicit in the war crime by allowing Hamas to go on exploiting the UN
brand. It's unfortunately commonplace for humanitarian organizations in
war zones to collaborate with terrorists and guerrillas in one form or
another. But the UNRWA isn't just paying money to Hamas in exchange for
being allowed to operate, the way that many groups in war zones do, it
has allowed Hamas to turn its operations in Gaza into an extension of
the terrorist group.
Hamas is listed as a Foreign Terrorist
Organization. It's against the law for the United States to fund it. By
funding the UNRWA, the United States is paying Hamas and participating
in its war crimes. Using civilian and humanitarian facilities for
military purposes is a war crime. Using them to stage attacks against
civilians by attackers out of uniform adds further crimes to the total.
United States provided $130 million to the UNRWA in 2013.The UNRWA's
continued operations in Gaza would not be viable without American
funding. Congressional investigations and condemnations have led to
nothing. The UNRWA has adopted neutrality policies, but it has refused
to put up a firewall between it and Hamas. And it can't, because it has
become an arm of Hamas.
When Kerry visited Gaza in 2009, the UNRWA's Gaza chief passed
along a letter to him from Hamas. The incident showed that not only was
the locally recruited staff working for Hamas, but the UNRWA leadership
was clearly cooperating with the terrorist group.
"refugees" that the UNRWA was set up to cater to are for the most part
dead. The UNRWA has become another UN boondoggle funding a welfare state
for "refugee camps" that are older, bigger and more developed than many
Middle Eastern cities.
Meanwhile the UNRWA has become the public face of Hamas.
staff act as terrorists when they use UNRWA facilities for military
purposes, but then switch back to UNRWA when Israel fights back. Hamas
carries out attacks. The UNRWA demands ceasefires. Hamas uses UNRWA
schools and the UNRWA denounces Israel when an attack happens.
UNRWA has become the mask that Hamas wears. It's a tactical asset for a
terrorist group that empowers its human shield strategy. The UNRWA is
not only endangering Israeli civilians, but it is also endangering
Gazans who are exploited as human shields by members of a terrorist
group masquerading as the staff of an international humanitarian
This issue has come up before and the UNRWA's long
record of evasions and denials, admitting the substance of the claims
about the Hamas takeover of the UNRWA, while insisting that its Hamas
members are neutral and that all the rocket stores and rocket attacks
around UNRWA facilities are unrelated to the Hamas members on its staff,
are not good enough anymore.
It's time to defund the UNRWA.
apologists will insist that without it, Hamas will have full control
over the educational and social services of Gaza. But Hamas already
controls those things through the UNRWA while using American taxpayer
money to spread hate and promote terrorism.
Hamas would not
tolerate an outside organization controlling education in Gaza. The only
reason it tolerates the UNRWA because it can use its people in the
schools while the UNRWA funds the whole thing with American and European
money. The moment the UNRWA is defunded, Hamas will kick it out and the
same teachers will go on teaching the same hateful material, but
without the UN logos.
The United States should not be in the
business of funding the corruption of young minds. Money should not be
taken from American schools to fund the spread of hatred and terrorism.
have been filed and investigations have been launched. Congressmen and
Senators have looked into the UNRWA, clucked their tongues and denounced
its practices, but now it's time to take action by defunding the UNRWA.
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