Photo Credit: Majdi Fathi/TPS
Gazans hold a rally for UNRWA. Nov 27, 2019.

Israeli intelligence material handed to the United States reveals the extent of United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) staff participation in the Oct. 7, 2023 massacre.

The New York Times on Sunday published details regarding the involvement of 12 UNRWA employees in the Hamas-led terrorist attack in southern Israel—10 Hamas operatives and one affiliated with Palestinian Islamic Jihad.


One of the UNRWA workers is accused of kidnapping a woman, another of participating in the Kibbutz Be’eri massacre in which nearly 100 people were murdered and a third of distributing ammunition.

Seven of the accused were teachers at UNRWA schools, according to the dossier. Six of the men were inside Israel on Oct. 7 based on tracking of their cell phones, while others were overheard in Gaza discussing their involvement in the terrorist attack.

Three received text messages ordering them to report to meeting points on Oct. 7, and one was told to bring a rocket-propelled grenade stored at his home.

According to the Times report, the most detailed case in the dossier involves a school counselor from Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip who is accused of working with his son to abduct a woman from Israel. In another case, a social worker from Nuseirat in central Gaza assisted in bringing a dead Israeli soldier’s body to Gaza and in distributing ammunition and coordinating vehicles on the day of the attack.

UNRWA fired the 12 employees after Israel provided intelligence regarding their complicity. United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Sunday that nine had been terminated, one was dead and the identities of the other two were being clarified.

Estonia and Japan on Sunday joined 12 other countries in suspending funding for UNRWA over the accusations, including the United States, Canada, Britain, Australia, Italy, Finland, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Scotland and Iceland.

Some 1,200 people, mostly civilians, were murdered during the Oct. 7 terrorist attack. Thousands more were wounded and 253 taken hostage to Gaza, where 136 remain in the hands of Hamas, although some are confirmed dead.

UNRWA under fire

Since Oct. 7, UNRWA has come under fire numerous times, prompting Knesset lawmakers to reassess Israel’s relationship with the agency.

Reports released by IMPACT-SE and the U.N. Watch NGO document UNRWA employees expressing support for the attacks on social media.

Soldiers found missiles hidden among UNRWA relief supplies, while UNRWA-marked aid sacks were found filled with dirt and used in the lining of Hamas tunnels.

“Palestinians” are the only refugee population in the world with its own dedicated U.N. agency. The rest of the world’s refugees fall under the mandate of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees. Israeli officials have called for UNRWA to be closed and for “Palestinian” refugees to be brought under the aegis of the UNHCR.

Israel’s biggest criticism of UNRWA is that unlike the UNHCR, the agency defines refugee status as hereditary and irrespective of citizenship in other countries, resulting in the number of ‘Palestinian” refugees increasing over time and their not be resettled in new locations – even retaining “refugee” status as citizens in the Palestinian Authority and Gaza.


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