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Important update from the Embassy of Israel in New Zealand

Information about the involvement of UNRWA employees in the terrorist organization Hamas and the October 7 massacre continues to accumulate.

The Embassy of Israel wishes to inform you about the following:

Information about the involvement of UNRWA employees in the terrorist organization Hamas and the October 7 massacre continues to accumulate.

Currently, according to the information we have, at least 15 UNRWA employees participated in the October 7 massacre and some of them were involved in abducting Israelis to the Gaza Strip. 2135 UNRWA employees in Gaza are active in terrorist organizations (this is 17% of all UNRWA employees in Gaza with 485 operatives in the military wing of terrorist organizations; 1650 members of the terrorist organization Hamas) and at least 18 principals of UNRWA schools are military operatives in terrorist organizations. No less than 32 UNRWA facilities in the Gaza Strip include permanent terrorist infrastructure within them or at a distance of up to 20 meters from them (tunnels, shafts, headquarters, munitions depots, launch sites and observation posts).

As evidenced by Israel’s intelligence file on the subject, the extent of Hamas’ infiltration of UNRWA is extremely significant and in high numbers. UNRWA-Gaza is beyond repair and its activities in the Gaza Strip must be stopped.

Israel is committed to expanding humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip, and will continue to act accordingly, but not through UNRWA.

In light of the extent of Hamas’s infiltration of UNRWA it is no wonder that some of the humanitarian aid is diverted from the benefit of the civilian population. UNRWA’s approach is not a constructive to solving problems, but one that deepens friction with Israel.

There are alternatives to UNRWA in the field – other UN agencies that have a mandate and experience in specific fields (for example WFP in the food sector) and NGOs (like WCK) and countries that provide additional services (shelters or field hospitals). Aid resources should be directed to strengthening these alternatives that are already operating in the field. In fact, since the beginning of the war, the largest number of aid trucks entering the Gaza Strip have been from WFP and not from UNRWA.

The investigation of UNRWA’s failures is absolutely necessary. Israel supports the investigations and fully cooperates with two Commissions of Inquiry (external and internal). Both recently visited Israel and the intelligence file was presented to them in detail.

UNRWA is under pressure, as they are aware of the gravity of the situation, and have opened disinformation campaigns in recent weeks. For example, UNRWA claims that it has transferred the names of its employees to Israel every year and has heard no complaints from Israel. Things must be set straight: there is no agreed upon vetting mechanism between Israel and UNRWA and the responsibility for checking the background of its employees’ rests with UNRWA as their employer. UNRWA did transfer the list of names of its employees to Israel every year but did so retrospectively. For example, in May 2023, it forwarded the list of names of employees that it employed in 2022 and did not forward lists of names in advance before their employment. The lists were sent without ID numbers and without indicating the exact workplace of each employee. Moreover, when Israel passed on sporadic information that came into its possession regarding Hamas’s operatives who are employed by UNRWA, with a demand to conduct an investigation and fire them, UNRWA did not act (the statements are backed up in the documents that were transferred to the commissions of inquiry).

The involvement of UNRWA employees in the terrorist attack of October 7, the systematic and massive employment of operatives of terrorist organizations, including military operatives, the systematic use of the organization’s facilities for terrorist purposes and incitement in the education system – all of these constitute a violation of UNRWA’s neutrality, a value to which it is supposed to be committed as an UN agency.

Following this background, it is important that the suspension of UNRWA funding continues and that aid to the Gaza population be delivered by other organizations that provide humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip.

For further details or any press-related inquiries, please contact our office.

 

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