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Details Emerge on U.N. Workers Accused of Aiding Hamas Raid

Details Emerge on U.N. Workers Accused of Aiding Hamas Raid


One is accused of kidnapping a lady. Another is alleged to have handed out ammunition. A 3rd was described as participating within the bloodbath at a kibbutz the place 97 folks died. And all had been mentioned to be staff of the United Nations support company that colleges, shelters and feeds a whole lot of 1000’s of Palestinians within the Gaza Strip.

The accusations are contained in a file supplied to the United States authorities that particulars Israel’s claims towards a dozen staff of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency who, it says, performed a task within the Hamas assaults towards Israel on Oct. 7 or of their aftermath.

The U.N. mentioned on Friday that it had fired a number of staff after being briefed on the allegations. But little was recognized in regards to the accusations till the file was reviewed on Sunday by The New York Times.

The accusations are what prompted eight international locations, together with the United States, to droop some support fee to the UNRWA, because the company is thought, whilst conflict plunges Palestinians in Gaza into determined straits. More than 26,000 folks have been killed there and almost two million displaced, in keeping with Gazan and U.N. officers.

The UNRWA staff have been accused of serving to Hamas stage the assault that set off the conflict in Gaza, or of aiding it within the days after. Some 1,200 folks in Israel had been killed that day, Israeli officers say, and about 240 had been kidnapped and brought to Gaza.

On Sunday, the United Nations secretary normal, António Guterres, described himself as “horrified by these accusations” and famous that 9 of the 12 accused staff had been fired. But Mr. Guterres implored these nations that had suspended their support funds to rethink. UNRWA is without doubt one of the largest employers in Gaza, with 13,000 folks, principally Palestinians, on employees.

Asked about Israel’s allegations on Sunday, UNRWA mentioned that two of the 12 staff had been dead however that it couldn’t present extra data whereas the U.N.’s Office of Internal Oversight Services was nonetheless investigating.

Two Western officers confirmed on the situation of anonymity that that they had been briefed on the contents of the file in latest days, however mentioned that they had not been capable of confirm the main points. Although the United States has but to corroborate the Israeli claims itself, American officers say they discovered them credible sufficient to warrant suspending support.

The Times verified the id of one of many 12 staff, a storeroom manager, whose social media profile lists him as an UNRWA worker and reveals him carrying U.N.-branded garments.

The Israeli file, offered to U.S. officers on Friday, lists the names and jobs of the UNRWA staff and the allegations towards them.

The file mentioned that Israeli intelligence officers had established the actions of six of the lads inside Israel on Oct. 7 based mostly on their telephones; others had been monitored whereas making telephone calls inside Gaza throughout which, the Israelis say, they mentioned their involvement within the Hamas assault.

Three others received textual content messages ordering them to report back to muster factors on Oct. 7, and one was instructed to carry rocket-propelled grenades saved at his dwelling, in keeping with the file.

The Israelis described 10 of the staff as members of Hamas, the militant group that managed Gaza on the time of the Oct. 7 assault. Another was mentioned to be affiliated with one other militant group, Islamic Jihad.

Yet seven of the accused had been additionally mentioned to be lecturers at UNRWA colleges, instructing college students in topics like math and Arabic. Two others labored on the colleges in different capacities. The remaining three had been described as a clerk, a social employee and the storeroom manager.

The most detailed accusations within the file involved a faculty counselor from Khan Younis, in southern Gaza, who’s accused of working along with his son to abduct a lady from Israel.

A social employee from Nuseirat, in central Gaza, is accused of serving to to carry the physique of a dead Israeli soldier to Gaza, in addition to distributing ammunition and coordinating automobiles on the day of the assault.

The Israeli accusations come towards the backdrop of decades-long frictions with UNRWA. Since 1949, the company has cared for the households of Palestinians who fled or had been compelled from their properties throughout the wars surrounding the creation of the state of Israel.

The group supplies important support to greater than 5 million Palestinian refugees scattered throughout the Middle East, whose future and standing have by no means been resolved regardless of years of negotiations.

But to its critics, together with many Israelis, the company is an impediment to resolving the battle. Its very existence, they are saying, prevents Palestinian refugees from integrating into new communities and stokes their goals of in the future returning to what’s now Israel — a purpose that Israel says it’s going to by no means enable. And in Gaza, Israel argues, UNRWA has fallen underneath the affect of Hamas, a declare the company rejects.

This is just not the primary time the United States has lower off cash to the U.N. company. The Trump administration suspended support as half its efforts to stress the Palestinian management to cease demanding that refugees be allowed to return to Israel.

But the present risk to its funding is taken into account to be the gravest in its historical past as a result of it comes at a time of disaster for Gaza.

Amid warnings of famine, the collapse of the well being system and the large displacement of the Palestinian inhabitants, UNRWA’s work is taken into account extra essential than ever. It helps coordinate the distribution of the provides of support — nevertheless meager — that arrive every day in southern Gaza, and its colleges present shelter to greater than one million Gazans, in keeping with the company’s statistics.

The funding suspensions could also be felt rapidly. Unlike different U.N. companies, UNRWA has no strategic monetary reserve. On Sunday, Mr. Guterres mentioned providers would possibly must be diminished starting in February.

A day earlier, the company’s commissioner-general, Philippe Lazzarini, warned of impending disaster.

“It can be immensely irresponsible to sanction an company and a whole neighborhood it serves due to allegations of legal acts towards some people, particularly at a time of conflict, displacement and political crises within the area,” he mentioned.

“The lives of individuals in Gaza rely upon this assist, and so does regional stability,” Mr. Lazzarini mentioned.

The State Department on Friday acknowledged the vital humanitarian function performed by UNRWA however mentioned it was suspending its funding whereas it assessed each the allegations and the company’s response to them.

Israeli officers themselves had been involved on Sunday about whether or not their accusations would possibly ultimately make their very own place tougher, in keeping with three officers concerned within the dialogue. A collapse within the supply of providers to Gaza may power Israel to shoulder a higher function in working support distribution — a task it doesn’t need.

Reports in regards to the accusations towards the help staff got here on the identical day that the International Court of Justice issued an interim ruling on accusations of genocide which have been leveled towards Israel by South Africa. The court ordered Israel to take action to prevent acts of genocide by its forces in Gaza and to permit extra support into the territory.

Reporting was contributed by Johnatan Reiss, Julian E. Barnes, Gabby Sobelman and Myra Noveck.

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