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HomeGeneralUN Fires Palestinian Refugee Agency Staffers, Claims They Joined Hamas Attack

UN Fires Palestinian Refugee Agency Staffers, Claims They Joined Hamas Attack

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Aftermath of the Hamas Attack
Source: WGN News/Youtube

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) was recently caught in a heated controversy. It was alleged that 12 of its staff were involved in the attack by Hamas militants on southern Israel. The consequences of these allegations have been dire, as several countries, like the US and the UK, have suspended funding to the agency. 

Israeli authorities reported that on October 7, 2023, there was an attack by Hamas on the Israelis. Approximately 1,200 people lost their lives, and 5,400 were injured, including foreign nationals. About 240 people, including children, women, and the elderly, were reportedly taken hostage in Gaza. An Israeli army spokesperson described October 7 as “the worst day in Israeli history by far.”

In a shocking twist of events, the UN workers were accused of helping Hamas to stage the attack that led to the war. The Israeli document shared with US officials detailed 12 individuals, their roles in the attack, job descriptions, and accompanying photos.

According to the report, Israeli intelligence officers had tracked the movements of six men within Israel using their phones. Others were monitored making phone calls where they allegedly discussed their involvement in the attack.

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Among the 12 workers listed, nine were identified as teachers and one as a social worker. Seven of them were accused of crossing into Israel, and two of the seven were allegedly involved in the kidnapping or initiating the Israeli abductions. While another two were reported to have participated in raiding the communal farming villages.

UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini took action by “immediately identifying and terminating” nine of the staff implicated. According to the Secretary-General, one person has been confirmed deceased, while the identities of two others are currently “being clarified.”

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UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was shocked by the news and called for urgent action. According to a statement by his office, there will be an “urgent and comprehensive independent review” of the agency.

It’s been challenging for the UNRWA, seeing that it provides food, shelter, and humanitarian aid to thousands of Palestinian refugees in the Gaza Strip. However, with countries cutting off funding, the organization may stop its operations if funding is not restored. The UN has pleaded that the whole agency shouldn’t be punished for the actions of a few workers. The UN is asking donors to restart funding to help the agency.

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“These shocking allegations come as more than 2 million people in Gaza depend on lifesaving assistance that the agency has been providing since the war began,” Lazzarini said in a statement. “Anyone who betrays the fundamental values of the United Nations also betrays those whom we serve in Gaza, across the region, and elsewhere around the world.”

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But Israel is not backing down. It has announced that it would solicit the support of America and the European Union to stop UNRWA operations in Gaza. In the wake of the incident, Foreign Minister Israel Katz said his ministry would ensure that the agency “will not be part of the day after.” But there’s hope for the agency, as the US has said it would remain supportive.

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