Israel Provided EU No Evidence for Claims UNRWA Tied to Hamas

by | Mar 14, 2024

Israel Provided EU No Evidence for Claims UNRWA Tied to Hamas

by | Mar 14, 2024

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A top European Union official said the body has not received any evidence from Israel to back its claims that the UN’s Palestinian aid agency is linked to Hamas. Several EU members cut funding to the organization after Tel Aviv alleged that a dozen UNRWA staffers participated in the October 7 attack, and accused thousands of employees of having ties to militant groups. 

Janez Lenarcic, the head of humanitarian aid at the European Commission, said that no one at the EU has received evidence to support the Israeli charges against UNRWA, adding that even if the claims were true, it wouldn’t justify cutting aid to an org that provides life-saving assistance to hundreds of thousands of Palestinians. 

“Even if those allegations, at the end of the day, prove to be true, that doesn’t mean that UNRWA is the perpetrator,” he said. “UNRWA has a critical role to play here because it has unmatched infrastructure, warehouses, shelters, and logistical capacities.”

In January, Israel asserted it had compiled an intelligence dossier proving that 12 members of UNRWA participated in the October 7 attack on Israel and thousands of others had ties to Hamas. Without seeing Tel Aviv’s evidence, UNRWA officials fired the employees and launched an investigation, a decision praised by Lenarcic. 

“UNRWA has reacted properly, immediately, effectively. It took several measures. There is an investigation. There is a review. We are satisfied so far with all this,” the EU official added. 

In the following days, Israel leaked a portion of its dossier to select media outlets. Those news networks reported that it contained no substantial evidence to validate Tel Aviv’s claims. 

UNRWA has started to compile its own report on the allegations. Reuters reviewed that document and says UNRWA found its employees were tortured, including waterboarding, to generate false confessions. As it appears Tel Aviv does not have evidence to back its claims, Sweden and Canada have resumed funding for UNRWA. 

The Israeli military operations in Gaza have decimated the Strip, causing a humanitarian catastrophe. Nearly two million Palestinians are internally displaced and now rely on UNRWA assistance to survive. The UN organizations also coordinate most aid entering Gaza. 

Israel has attacked UNRWA throughout its onslaught in Gaza. Over 160 employees have been killed in over 150 attacks on UNRWA facilities. The most recent attack was an airstrike on a UNRWA food distribution center in Rafah, killing five.

About Kyle Anzalone

Kyle Anzalone is news editor of the Libertarian Institute, opinion editor of and co-host of Conflicts of Interest with Will Porter and Connor Freeman.

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