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UN’s Failures Extend to Gaza

Terrorists in relief workers’ clothing.

by | Feb 6, 2024 | Articles, International, Opinion

Deteriorating conditions in Gaza are bad enough without the complications presented by claims UN relief workers participated in the October 7 attacks against Israel by Hamas. Several nations (including the US) have paused relief funds to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA) pending further investigation. The UN’s apparent failure to vet its staff threatens its mission to provide medical aid to injured civilians, a deja vu of previous systemic failures in Congo and Haiti. The UN has aggravated Israel with calls for a ceasefire; now it appears some of its paid UNRWA employees were agents of Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

Hamas and UNRWA

There were claims of UNRWA teachers and staffers openly celebrating the Hamas attacks of October 7, but recent allegations go much farther – suggesting actual physical participation. Israel claims the number of hostile UNRWA infiltrators exceeds 190 workers. At least 12 have been confirmed, including a social worker and nine teachers. Seven of these may have participated directly in the October 7 hostilities. Israel claims one UNRWA worker was part of a kibbutz massacre of 97 civilians that day. Early claims by an Israeli journalist that one of the Gaza hostage takers was a teacher at a UNRWA-run school were roundly denounced by UNRWA officials, who demanded an “immediate stop” to “unsubstantiated claims” and “misinformation.” It now appears that information was accurate and may be just the tip of a bloody iceberg.

UNRWA, created as a subsidiary of the United Nations General Assembly in 1949 to provide services to Palestinian refugees, has long been accused of associations with Hamas and Islamic anti-Semitic militantism. Israel accuses UNRWA of aggravating tensions with Hamas, storing weapons at its facilities, and indoctrinating children with inflammatory rhetoric in UNRWA-operated schools. As reported by The Times of Israel:

“According to an IMPACT-se report, UNRWA-produced educational literature ‘contains material that encourages jihad, violence and martyrdom, promotes antisemitism, and promotes hate, intolerance, and lack of neutrality.’

“False conspiracy theories teach students that Israeli policies include attempts ‘to erase Palestinian identity,’ to ‘steal and falsify the Palestinian heritage,’ and to ‘erase the cultural heritage of Jerusalem.’”

Hostility Toward Israel?

GettyImages-1822872540 (1) WHO

(Photo by Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

United Nations entities have repeatedly been embroiled in geopolitical maneuverings. The World Health Organization (WHO), another UN subsidiary, allegedly supported the Myanmar government indirectly via favorable medical care provision and similarly favored the Assad regime in Syria. In the highly volatile Middle East conflict, the United Nations has come under fire for interfering with Israel’s national security.

In December 2023, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres criticized Hamas for using civilians as human shields and called upon Israel to urgently implement a ceasefire. Israel Foreign Affairs Minister Eli Cohen rebuked the UN’s position sharply on X:

“Guterres’ tenure is a danger to world peace.

“His request to activate Article 99 and the call for a cease fire in Gaza constitutes support of the Hamas terrorist organization and an endorsement of the murder of the elderly, the abduction of babies and the rape of women.

“Anyone who supports world peace must support the liberation of Gaza from Hamas.”

Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Gilad Erdan tag-teamed in this criticism of Guterres, arguing that the UN had not taken that stance in Yemen, Syria, or Ukraine. The recent revelations about UN-affiliated aid workers participating in actual terrorism against Jews certainly undermine UN credibility in ceasefire negotiations, at least until the left hand figures out what the right hand is doing.

UN’s Worldwide Credibility Problem

GettyImages-1243912788 Ebola

(Photo by Nicholas Kajoba/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

The UN’s alleged conflicts of political interest in Gaza and Israel are compounded by lost trust due to betrayals of traditional fiduciary obligations. In Congo’s 2018-2019 Ebola outbreak, the medical profession was corrupted when WHO personnel dispatched to rescue impoverished patients from the deadly disease reportedly raped and impregnated many women, including a 13-year-old. (As in Gaza, many WHO employees had inadequate background checks.)

Additional UN sex trafficking scandals have been reported in Bosnia and Kosovo, as well as a notoriously ignominious child sex ring organized in Haiti by more than 100 UN personnel who had been insufficiently screened. In all of these experiences, insufficiently researched UN (or its numerous bureaucratic subsidiaries) staff become predators against those they were entrusted to aid, then returned home with impunity.

WHO’s Fingers Are in Gaza?

The UN’s influence in the Israel conflict has thus far been a three-pronged triumvirate. UN Secretary-General Guterres called for an “immediate humanitarian ceasefire” on October 19, 12 days after the obscene attacks. UNRWA head Philippe Lazzarini accused Israel of “collective punishment” of Palestinians and suggested civilian casualties in Gaza “cannot be ‘collateral damage.’” The WHO joined the October chorus demanding a ceasefire – three voices from one throat.

The WHO has boots on the ground in Gaza and stridently objects to military checkpoints that hinder ambulances and cause medical workers and patients to be searched or detained. Given the attacks on Israel and the Hamas tactic of clustering civilians as human shields around hospitals, Israeli security precautions appear necessary to tell friend from foe – the UNRWA workers who joined in the bloodbath are proof of the profound challenges faced.

WHO complained in a December 12, 2023, press release that its staff were detained by military personnel in Gaza on December 9:

“Obstructing ambulances and attacks on humanitarian and health workers are unconscionable.

“Healthcare, including ambulances, are protected under international law. They must be respected and protected in all circumstances.

“The difficulties faced by this mission illustrate the shrinking space for humanitarian actors to provide aid within Gaza, even though access is desperately needed to alleviate the catastrophic humanitarian situation….”

Fog of War

The space for humanitarian actors shrinks when the terrorists committing unspeakable atrocities are the teachers and social workers themselves. The UN is projecting onto Israel increased tensions and distrust seeded by its recurrent incompetence in preventing Hamas from permeating the organization. The space for trust of medical personnel and UN and WHO employees shrinks when doctors traffic women on the front lines of wars against disease.

The appeal by the UN for renewed funding for its Gaza agencies is as predictable as horror tales of women and children raped (and now Jews murdered and kidnapped) under its lackadaisical watch. UN authorities claim the entire organization should not be blamed for the actions of the few. But the war crimes of the few have been enabled by the many, and it is the people of Gaza who suffer the penalty – whether UNRWA funding is resumed or not.

Read More From John Klar

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