Israel provided evidence alleging that roughly a dozen members of UNRWA staff were involved in the October 7 Hamas terror attack.
Israel provided evidence alleging that roughly a dozen UNRWA staffers were involved in the October 7 Hamas terror attack, and media outlets published additional details on the implicated employees, along with photos from an Israeli dossier. Amid the allegations about deeper links between the UN agency and the terrorist organisation, a large number of nations are suspending funding to the UN agency while the investigation into the claims is ongoing.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said during a press conference on Monday that the participation of the concerned UNRWA employees in the October 7 terror onslaught is „highly credible”. Nevertheless, he stressed that the UN agency for Palestinian refugees plays an „indispensable” role in providing assistance to civilians in the Gaza Strip. Therefore, it is „imperative” that the agency carries out an immediate investigation and addresses the allegations „as thoroughly as possible.”
As allegations swirled in international media, Channel 12 revealed more details about the 12 UNRWA employees in question. Of the 12 UNRWA workers accused of participating in the October 7 massacre, seven were reportedly teachers, two were educational consultants, and others were humanitarian aid warehouse managers.
One of the involved UNRWA teachers had been accused of being armed with an anti-tank missile, while another teacher had been accused of filming a hostage being taken captive during the onslaught.
Another of the staffers, also an elementary school teacher, allegedly served as a Hamas commander and participated in the massacre in Kibbutz Be’eri, while a man employed by UNRWA as a social worker had reportedly been involved in the kidnapping of an IDF soldier’s body on that day, reports The Times of Israel.
The United States, France, Britain, Germany, Japan and New Zealand have suspended further funding to the UNRWA, even though it sacked „several” employees accused of involvement in the October 7 attack. During a press briefing on Monday, US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said that the US will only consider resuming funding to the UN agency if the UNRWA’s investigation is „credible, transparent, thorough and timely.”
Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz had cancelled meetings planned for this week between ministry officials and UNRWA head Philippe Lazzarini. „UNRWA employees participated in the massacre of October 7,” Katz wrote on X, formerly Twitter. „Lazzarini should draw conclusions and resign. Supporters of terrorism are not welcome here.”
On Monday, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres met with the head of internal UN investigations to ensure that the inquiry into the accusations „will be done swiftly and as efficiently as possible.”
Besides the alleged involvement of UNRWA employees in the October 7 terror attack by Hamas, Israel has long been accusing the UN agency of inciting anti-Israel and antisemitic hatred in its hundreds of schools.
Source of cover picture: PBS News Hour