Home » Israel Hasn’t Provided Proof Tying Many U.N. Employees to Hamas, Evaluate Says

Israel Hasn’t Provided Proof Tying Many U.N. Employees to Hamas, Evaluate Says

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Israel has not supplied proof to assist its accusations that many staff of the principle U.N. company for Palestinian refugees are members of terrorist organizations, in accordance with an impartial assessment commissioned by the United Nations that was launched on Monday.

The assessment didn’t tackle Israel’s accusation {that a} dozen staff of the company, often known as UNRWA, have been concerned within the Hamas-led assault on Israel on Oct. 7. “It’s a separate mission, and it isn’t in our mandate,” stated Catherine Colonna, the previous French international minister who led the inquiry.

The assessment was introduced in January, earlier than Israel circulated claims that one in 10 of UNRWA’s 13,000 staff within the Gaza Strip was a member of Hamas or its ally, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and that a few of these staff took half within the Oct. 7 assault.

However by the point investigators began engaged on the assessment in early February, Israel had leveled these expenses, giving the inquiry added significance.

Talking at a information convention at U.N. headquarters in New York on Monday, Ms. Colonna stated she needed to be “very clear” that the query of involvement in Oct. 7 is a separate query, one that continues to be underneath inside investigation by the United Nations.

Whereas Israel has not produced proof of ties to Hamas and different militant teams amongst UNRWA staff, that doesn’t imply there isn’t a proof, she famous. “It’s very completely different,” she stated.

Greater than a dozen nations, together with the USA, suspended funding to UNRWA in gentle of the accusations. The United Nations fired 10 of the 12 staff accused within the assault whereas pleading with donor nations to revive funding at a time when the vast majority of Gazans rely upon the group for meals and shelter. It additionally introduced an inside investigation together with the impartial exterior assessment, which was made public on Monday.

After the Biden administration halted funding for the company pending the outcomes of investigations, Congress barred any cash for the company for a yr, by March 2025.

The assessment led by Ms. Colonna stated that UNRWA had lengthy shared lists of its staff with Israel, however that the Israeli authorities had not knowledgeable the company of any considerations referring to UNRWA employees members primarily based on these lists since 2011.

“Israel made public claims {that a} vital variety of UNRWA staff are members of terrorist organizations,” the report stated. “Nevertheless, Israel has but to supply supporting proof of this.”

In an announcement on Monday, Oren Marmorstein, a spokesman for the Israeli international ministry, stated, “Hamas has infiltrated UNRWA so deeply that it’s not doable to find out the place UNRWA ends and the place Hamas begins.”

“This isn’t what a real and thorough assessment appears like,” he added. “That is what an effort to keep away from the issue and never tackle it head on appears like.”

Amid calls from Israel to shutter the company, the report commissioned by the United Nations stated UNRWA remained “pivotal in offering life-saving humanitarian help and important social providers,” including that “UNRWA is irreplaceable and indispensable to Palestinians’ human and financial growth.”

Nonetheless, the report discovered that regardless of “sturdy” pointers to make sure its neutrality, there have been weaknesses of their implementation due to issues within the company’s vetting processes, its inside investigations and restrictions on its capability to forestall armed teams from utilizing its amenities for navy functions.

The report stated the company “lacks the assist of intelligence providers to undertake environment friendly and complete vetting.”

An absence of sources had slowed the company’s investigations into alleged breaches of neutrality, “limiting UNRWA’s capability to draw, rent, practice and retain appropriate, skilled and certified investigators,” the report stated.

The report added that there had been cases when company staff had publicly expressed political beliefs, its faculties had used textbooks with “problematic content material” and a few of its amenities had been used for “political or navy functions.” The report didn’t elaborate, however stated that breaches of neutrality “might embrace the invention of weapons, cavities and tunnel openings, navy actions or incursions.”

The assessment supplied suggestions for shielding the company’s neutrality, together with further screening and coaching of employees members, and nearer cooperation with host nations and Israel in sharing worker rosters.

Stéphane Dujarric, spokesman for the U.N. secretary normal, António Guterres, stated on Monday that Mr. Guterres had accepted the report’s suggestions and appealed for donors “to actively assist UNRWA, as it’s a lifeline for Palestine refugees within the area.”

Among the many nations that suspended funds over Israel’s allegations, a number of — together with Canada, Japan and Australia — have resumed funding UNRWA, citing the spiraling humanitarian disaster in Gaza and steps taken by the company to enhance accountability. The US has stated it will await the outcomes of U.N. investigations earlier than deciding whether or not to renew donations to UNRWA.

Matthew Miller, a State Division spokesman, instructed reporters on Monday that the Biden administration was reviewing the United Nations report and had no evaluation but of its conclusions.

“Definitely, we welcome the truth that the secretary-general has accepted the suggestions,” Mr. Miller stated, including that the USA had “lengthy made clear that there must be reforms at UNRWA.”

“We have now at all times made clear that we predict the position that UNRWA performs is indispensable in offering and facilitating the supply of humanitarian help — not simply in Gaza, however within the broader area,” he stated. “We proceed to assist the work that they do.”

UNRWA was created to supply help to Palestinians throughout the Center East whose households fled or have been pressured from lands throughout the wars surrounding Israel’s creation in 1948. Since Hamas received Palestinian elections in Gaza in 2006 and ousted a rival faction from the enclave a yr later, the group ceded a lot of its civil tasks to UNRWA.

Israel has claimed that UNRWA is essentially compromised, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has known as for it to be closed and changed “with accountable worldwide help companies.”

Michael Levenson, Anushka Patil and Michael Crowley contributed reporting.

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