The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which is responsible for aiding the Palestinian refugee population and is especially vital to the people of Gaza — now suffering an Israeli imposed famine — has suddenly been defunded by Western nations. The move to withdraw funding comes as an immediate response to Israel’s allegation that employees of the agency were involved in the Hamas-led October 7 attack. However, it is clear that Israel’s claims are disingenuous.
To begin with, UNRWA is an organization that was set up by the United Nations to specifically provide aid and human development programs for the Palestinian refugee population that were expelled from their lands by Zionist militias, between 1947-1949, in what is known as the Nakba (catastrophe). As per UN resolution 194, the Palestinian refugees have a right under international law to return to their homelands — and the organization responsible for keeping track of those refugees is UNRWA.
UNRWA has registered nearly 6 million Palestinians as refugees and provides crucial aid to the refugee population, particularly inside of Lebanon and the Gaza Strip. Its aid programs in the refugee camps are one of the key pillars that are keeping the Palestinian refugees inside of the camps in Lebanese territory afloat, as the population there is mostly impoverished and are disadvantaged under Lebanese law due to their status as refugees. In Gaza, roughly 80% of the population there are registered refugees with UNRWA, of which the majority have been displaced again and lost their homes due to Israel’s ongoing assault on the besieged territory. At a time when Gaza is facing “the worst ever” humanitarian crisis and an Israeli imposed famine, in which mainly children are the victims of death by starvation on a daily basis, the withdrawal of funds from the UN agency is tantamount to an act of collective punishment.
So far, the US, Australia, Austria, Britain, Canada, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Italy, Romania, Switzerland, the Netherlands, and Japan have all withdrawn funding from UNRWA. The claim that is being circulated in Western media is that Israel has evidence of the UN agency’s employees being involved in the Hamas-led attack on October 7. This story has now replaced the news which broke the day before, which was that the International Court of Justice (ICJ) had unanimously decided to pursue South Africa’s submitted case against Israel for committing the Crime of Genocide in Gaza. The ICJ gave the provisional ruling that there had been sufficient evidence presented suggesting Israel is violating the Genocide Convention.
Israel’s Conspiracy Against UNRWA Exposed And Debunked
Israel’s initial claim consisted of the allegation that 12 employees of UNRWA had some level of involvement in the October 7 attack led by Hamas. The UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, had stated that the so-called intelligence report of Tel Aviv, in which there is supposed evidence of the claims made by Israeli officials, hadn’t been presented to the United Nations at the time of the allegations. Israel then suddenly emerged with a dossier, which it sent to the US government. Now, the Israeli government is claiming that some 190 UNRWA employees are “hardened militants“.
The New York Times released a report, after having examined the dossier on Sunday, in which it makes it clear that most of the information presented by Israel is vague and only specific in a few cases. The NYT article and the reports issued across Western media omit the fact that Israel’s “intelligence information”, relies on interrogations carried out by the Israeli Shin Bet who are notorious for torture. According to an Israeli official speaking to Axios: “A lot of the intelligence is a result of interrogations of militants who were arrested during the Oct. 7 attack.” The Israeli Shin Bet recorded some of their interrogations of alleged “Hamas militants” on October 7, in which Palestinians are recorded stating contradictory accounts of what happened and clearly under duress.
The UN, after it did receive Israel’s information, mostly depending on interrogations — which it is fair to assume involved torture — actually expressed their shock and confirmed that 9 of the 12 individuals [most of whom were teachers in UN schools] had been fired, while 2 others had already been declared dead. So, according to the information, which did not come through an independent investigation and relies heavily on interrogations, the UN agency has fired 9 of the 10 living employees. Yet, without any of this information having been established as fact, 8 countries had immediately cut off aid to UNRWA.
Let us for a moment imagine that the allegations are true, that all 12 were involved in attacking, aiding Hamas, or kidnapping Israeli civilians. This has not been established by an independent investigation, but let us take Israel’s word for it, for the moment. UNRWA employs over 13,000 Palestinians inside the Gaza Strip, so even in the event that the 12 accused are actually guilty, this constitutes 0.092% as a grand total of the employees accused by Israel. None of those accused are in any senior position inside the organization and, as was mentioned above, most are UNRWA teachers. So how does it, even in the event that the allegations are true, make any sense for the whole Western bloc of nations to quickly, in a coordinated fashion and without reviewing independent evidence, cut off aid to an agency over such an insignificant portion of the staff being involved in October 7?
Well, it makes a lot of sense if you understand that Israel has been planning this all along. Yes, this is a carefully crafted conspiracy that is out in the open for the world to see. On December 29, The Times of Israel reported that a “high-level classified” Israeli Foreign Ministry report had detailed exactly how to push UNRWA out of post-war Gaza and help collapse the refugee issue.
For those who are skeptical of the claim that this is a coordinated conspiracy, which the Western nations who have withdrawn funding from UNRWA are willingly or unwillingly taking part in, read the following from The Times of Israel piece:
“According to the report, the document recommends three stages to the move. The first involves a comprehensive report on alleged UNRWA cooperation with Hamas, which rules Gaza, and the entanglement of the UN body that provides welfare and humanitarian services for Palestinian refugees from the 1948 and 1967 wars and their descendants, with the terror group.
The next stage would see reduced UNRWA operations in the Palestinian enclave, amid a search for a different organization to provide education and welfare services. In the third stage, according to the report, all of UNRWA’s duties would be transferred to the body governing Gaza following the war.”
Former US President, Donald Trump, also withdrew funding from UNRWA, as part of an attempt to undermine the Palestinian refugee issue and force his so-called “deal of the century” plan on the Palestinian people. Israeli officials have for years spoken about the need to undermine, delegitimize, and disband UNRWA, for the purpose of destroying the viability of the Palestinian Right of Return. Tel Aviv has its own right of return law, which allows anyone who can prove a Jewish grandparent to become Israeli citizens, yet seeks to prevent Palestinian refugees from exercising their right under international law.
The timing of this move to essentially put the legitimacy of the UN on trial, came a single day after the ICJ ruled to put Israel on trial for genocide. This is not a coincidence, it is a carefully calculated move to use Western governments and media to focus on claims about UNRWA, so that there is no longer any discussion about the fact that the Israeli regime is on trial in the highest judicial body on earth for committing the crime of all crimes.
Even if the allegations about all 12 UNRWA employees were true, which there does not appear to be any more than mere innuendo to support the claims, it doesn’t warrant a withdrawal of funds to the crucial UN agency that is currently the difference between life and death in Gaza. This attack on UNRWA is a concoction of disgraceful nonsense used to distract from Israel’s genocide, paint the UN as working with Hamas, and to destroy the Palestinian refugee issue. Unfortunately, the Western mainstream media’s “journalists” are again pretending as if Israeli allegations are somehow trustworthy, but at the end of the day, that’s their job, to be stenographers for their governments and financiers of their outlets.