Funding Cut Off For UN Agency Aiding Gaza As Israel Publishes 'Intelligence Dossier' Alleging Oct.7 Links

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by Tyler Durden
Monday, Jan 29, 2024 - 07:40 PM

The main United Nations agency in Gaza has had its funding gutted, given that countries responsible for the bulk of funds have cut them off (especially the US and UK), following Israel's allegations that at least a dozen of the UN agency’s employees were involved in the Hamas attack on Israel on October 7.

The organization which goes by the formal name of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) has already reportedly fired several employees amid the allegations, and the controversy has resulted in the United States leading the way in pausing all donations. The UNRWA has long faced these accusations, and all the way back in 2018 the Trump administration cut US funding, but it was restored under the Biden administration in 2021.

Via Al Jazeera

At a moment that at least 85% of the Gaza population has been displaced, or some 1.9 million people, the UNRWA is now warning that the humanitarian aid organization will run out of money by February. It is essentially the sole source of food, medicine, and relief to the growing refugee tent population which has sprang up in the southern half of the Strip.

"If the funding is not resumed, Unrwa will not be able to continue its services and operations across the region, including in Gaza, beyond the end of February," a representative for the agency said.

The following countries have suspended their aid, per CNN:

  • United States
  • Canada
  • Italy
  • Germany
  • Switzerland
  • Netherlands
  • Australia
  • United Kingdom
  • Finland
  • France
  • Japan
  • Austria
  • Romania

However, some others have pledged to continue aid despite the Israeli allegations. These include: Ireland, Norway, Turkey, Luxembourg, and Spain.

On Monday The Wall Street Journal published a summary of what it says is an intelligence dossier provided by Israeli officials to their US counterparts. It identifies 12 local UN staff who had connections to the Oct.7 terror attack which killed 1,200 people and resulted in hundreds kidnapped.

Below are some of the Israeli intelligence findings:

At least 12 employees of the U.N.’s Palestinian refugee agency had connections to Hamas’s Oct. 7 attack on Israel and around 10% of all of its Gaza staff have ties to Islamist militant groups, according to intelligence reports reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

Six United Nations Relief and Works Agency workers were part of the wave of Palestinian militants who killed 1,200 people in the deadliest assault on Jews since the Holocaust, according to the intelligence dossier. Two helped kidnap Israelis. Two others were tracked to sites where scores of Israeli civilians were shot and killed. Others coordinated logistics for the assault, including procuring weapons.

Of the 12 Unrwa employees with links to the attacks, seven were primary or secondary school teachers, including two math teachers, two Arabic language teachers and one primary school teacher.

The report describes that in some cases individual UNRWA workers had actually taken part in the cross-border raids of Oct.7 - while another, a female math teacher, was found to have a photograph of a female Israeli hostage on her phone. In one instance, a Palestinian social worker absconded with the body of a deceased Israeli soldier.

WSJ notes that there are some 13,000 total UN employees in Gaza, and the overwhelming majority are Palestinian. "Intelligence estimates shared with the U.S. conclude that around 1,200 of Unrwa’s roughly 12,000 employees in Gaza have links to Hamas or Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and about half have close relatives who belong to the Islamist militant groups," the report says.

As for evaluating the claims of the Israeli intelligence dossier which no doubt the government was eager to make public, it is important to remember that the United Nations has multiple levels: international staff, regional staff, and local. Local UN staff is always made up primarily of the local citizenry. So for example, the Damascus offices of the UN are staffed almost entirely by Syrians.

In the case of Gaza, the claim that "around 10% of all of its Gaza staff have ties to Islamist militant groups" makes perfect sense, and yet might or might not be as alarming or significant as WSJ makes it sound, given that in Gaza's case the only "government" over the Strip is run by Hamas. Thus every public hospital, university, social organization, or even elementary or high school, down to the level of a corner soup kitchen, runs with some degree backing or association with Hamas. This is akin to every nurse or school teacher under Saddam Hussein's Iraq having to have been a card-carrying Baathist. 

To some degree, this was the dilemma from the beginning of the Gaza conflict: humanitarian aid was let in by Israel even while knowing full well said aid could only be distributed by groups with links to/overseen by Hamas. That among 13,000 UN staffers, there are some associated with Hamas is no surprise or revelation. Thus to some degree this Israeli "dossier" is intentionally timed and calculated for public consumption in the West, and as part of squeezing the Gaza population further, as the war of attrition against Hamas continues with no end in sight.

As for the outrage in this scenario of hardline jihadist militant groups who commit terror attacks quietly benefitting from United Nations funding... one might expect the same "outrage" to be applied to Idlib, where the UN and US actively ship humanitarian aid to Syrian al-Qaeda/Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (among other more nefarious forms of historic aid). As is typical with US foreign policy, the outrage is always selective, based on who is the friend or foe of the moment.