Now twelve countries — the U.S., the U.K., Canada, Australia, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Finland, Switzerland, Estonia, Austria, and Japan — have decided to suspend their payments to UNRWA, prompted by the revelation that at least a dozen members of that Agency’s staff took part in the atrocities committed by Hamas on October 7. That’s a start, but it is not enough.
It is time to consider shutting down UNRWA, which as an organization has long been a willing collaborator with the terror group. It has never protested when Hamas has used its facilities, including schools, to hide its weapons and fighters, and to use as redoubts, from which to launch rockets into Israel, or to fire on the IDF; UNRWA resources have been diverted by Hamas, to be used to build tunnels; thousands of UNRWA teachers have celebrated online the October 7 attacks. More on the UNRWA teachers who instruct their pupils in violent antisemitism, have long been implicated in supporting Hamas, and have recently been exulting in the Hamas terror attacks on October 7, can be found here: “The UN’s Terrorism Teachers,” by Hillel C. Neuer, The Free Press, January 28, 2024:
…On Friday [Jan. 26], UNRWA said it had fired some employees accused of participating in Hamas’s October 7 invasion of Israel. Over the weekend, in an unprecedented rebuke of the agency, more than a dozen of its donor states, including the U.S., Germany, France, Japan, Canada, and the Netherlands, announced their suspension of funds to UNRWA. The latest revelations follow numerous other reported cases of UNRWA’s entanglement with Hamas terrorism….
UNRWA’s main task is political. Palestinians who work for UNRWA call it “the main political witness to our cause.”
UNRWA exists to perpetuate Palestinians as refugees. Unlike the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, which since World War II has been responsible for the welfare of all refugees in the world, and has worked toward their resettlement and relocation, UNRWA deals only with the Arabs from Palestine and has a completely different objective.
Millions of Palestinians who attend UNRWA schools in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, the West Bank, and Gaza are taught that the war of 1948 is not over, and that they have a “right of return”—meaning, to dismantle and take over Israel….
UN Secretary General António Guterres said he was “horrified” to discover that UNRWA employees participated in the invasion and massacre of October 7. But in reality, their actions merely translated UNRWA’s core message into action.
Don’t take my word for it. Listen to what thousands of UNRWA teachers in Gaza say among themselves.
Earlier this month, Middle East analyst Eitan Fischberger discovered a Telegram chat group of UNRWA educators in Gaza. “Let me tell you,” he quipped on X, ”they sure do love Hamas and October 7th.” Saying he didn’t have the time to examine the material, he tagged me to ask if we could take it on.
We did. What we found was a chat group of 3,000 UNRWA teachers with discussions about when to expect their next UNRWA salaries mixed together with messages, photos, and videos celebrating the Hamas massacre of October 7, and other acts of terrorism.
My colleagues at UN Watch worked diligently with professional Arabic translators to sift through more than 249,000 user posts in the chat group.
Tomorrow [Jan. 30] I will present our findings before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, at a joint hearing of its subcommittees on oversight and international organizations. It’s not pretty. UNRWA teachers routinely encourage and promote Hamas terrorism.
Here’s a sneak preview:
Safaa Mohammad Al Najjar, a computer teacher at UNRWA’s Moghraqa Prep Girls School in Rafah, Gaza, is a highly active administrator in the Telegram group, and routinely praises terrorism against Jews. On the morning of October 7, at 7:33 a.m., Al Najjar excitedly celebrated the Hamas massacre. Sharing video footage of the attacks, she exclaimed, “Resistance on the roof of settlers’ houses,” and she added a red heart emoji. She praised the Hamas “holy warriors” (Mujahideen) as they massacred, mutilated, and raped Israelis.
Another administrator of the Telegram group is UNRWA English teacher Abdallah Mehjez. According to his LinkedIn profile, he previously worked for the BBC. On October 13, Mehjez shared a message from the Hamas Interior Ministry, urging Gazans to stay put and ignore Israeli messages calling on them to evacuate for their safety. In other words, an UNRWA teacher was doing Hamas’s work urging Gaza civilians not to leave harm’s way, and instead to effectively serve as human shields.
Despite all their required “neutrality” training, other UNRWA teachers serving as administrators in the group also have no compunction about declaring their support for the murder of Jews.
On the morning of October 7, administrator Israa Abdul Kareem Mezher, an elementary school Arabic language teacher in Gaza, posting under the username “Sun of Sunshine,” ecstatically celebrated the Hamas terrorists: “May Allah keep their feet steady and guide their aim”; “pray for the Mujahidin”; “God protect them and bring them back safe.” As news of the Hamas atrocities began to spread, Mezher cheered, “God is the greatest.”
When a group member wondered what these “heroes” were “brought up on,” Mezher replied: “They imbibed jihad and resistance with their mothers’ milk.” At 7:17 a.m., commenting on a photo of a dead Hamas terrorist, he wrote: “Our martyrs are in heaven, and their [Israeli] dead are in hell.” A few days later, on October 10, this UNRWA teacher endorsed a call for Hamas to execute their Israeli hostages….
American audiences are regularly assured by UNRWA officials that the agency operates “on the principles of neutrality, impartiality, independence and humanity.” So wrote Elizabeth Campbell in The New York Times, in April 2019, when she served as UNRWA’s chief lobbyist in Washington. Today, she’s the Biden administration’s deputy assistant secretary of state dealing with refugees.
But as the Telegram group shows, this is simply not the case. In my report before Congress, I will identify more than 25 other UNRWA teachers in the chat group who celebrated jihadi terrorism and the murder of Jews….
UNRWA is so riddled with Hamas supporters that after completing their investigations, the Western donors may well call — as they ought to have done decades ago — for a wholesale cleaning of the Augean stables, or ideally, to shut down UNRWA altogether. Every staff member who has praised terrorism, beginning with the 3,000 teachers on that Instagram account who praised Hamas for its October 7 attack, should be discharged. Every staff member who knew about Hamas’ use of UNRWA facilities, and its theft of humanitarian aid in Gaza, and said nothing about either, should be let go. This slimmed down organization, ideally having replaced its bloated Palestinian staff — 13,000 in Gaza alone — with a much smaller professional staff consisting largely of non-Palestinians, should assume a different task: not to keep increasing the aid agency’s rolls but to steadily shrink them, by no longer treating the status of “Palestinian refugee” as an inherited trait, to be passed down to children, grandchildren, and so on, ad infinitum. Put a full stop to that policy, announcing that from now on no one will be added to the list of “Palestinian refugees.”
That’s what I’d call a good start.