OpinionIsrael-Palestinian Conflict

Humanitarian-aid workers are enablers of Hamas

Given the engineering required to build hundreds of miles of tunnels in Gaza, how credible is it that UNRWA staff and others didn’t know what was happening around them?

U.N. workers and empty trucks wait for the arrival of humanitarian aid at the Palestinian side of the Rafah border crossing with Egypt on Oct. 21, 2023. Photo by Atia Mohammed/Flash90.
U.N. workers and empty trucks wait for the arrival of humanitarian aid at the Palestinian side of the Rafah border crossing with Egypt on Oct. 21, 2023. Photo by Atia Mohammed/Flash90.
Mitchell Bard
Mitchell Bard
Mitchell Bard is a foreign-policy analyst and an authority on U.S.-Israel relations who has written and edited 22 books, including The Arab Lobby, Death to the Infidels: Radical Islam’s War Against the Jews and After Anatevka: Tevye in Palestine.

Every aid worker who entered Gaza before Oct. 7 knew that Hamas governed all aspects of life, including provisions of humanitarian assistance. They knew that they are only allowed to work out of sufferance of the terrorists. Criticism of Hamas or disobedience results, at a minimum, in banishment. To have any hope of returning to Gaza, aid workers must continue to hew to the accepted Hamas narrative, which boils down to hear no evil, speak no evil and see no evil unless you can blame Israel. This is why anything aid workers say must be taken with skepticism.

The worst of all the aid organizations is the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), whose principal contribution has been exponentially increasing the number of refugees. Whereas there are probably no more than 30,000 elderly refugees alive today from Israel’s 1948 War of Independence, the agency now claims that there are 5.9 million and, therefore, commands a bloated budget of more than $1 billion. For decades, complaints have been made about the antisemitic, anti-Israel and anti-peace content of the UNRWA school curricula and textbooks, which has nurtured generations of Palestinian terrorists.

During the last Gaza conflict in May 2021, we saw what happened when someone from UNRWA told the truth. The director of operations in Gaza, no shill for Israel, acknowledged that attacks by the Israel Defense Forces were precise and directed at military targets. “They did not hit,” Matthias Schmale said, “with some exceptions, civilian targets.” He was subsequently pilloried by Hamas, forced to recant and withdrawn from Gaza.

Earlier in this war, UNRWA admitted that Hamas was stealing fuel and medical supplies, and then denied it even as videos provided the evidence. The IDF later released a recording of a Gazan explaining how UNRWA employees are Hamas operatives; Hamas controls the organization and diverts vital aid meant for civilians.

As in past operations, Israel has found weapons and tunnels in and around UNRWA facilities. Given the engineering required to build hundreds of miles of tunnels, how credible is it that UNRWA and other aid workers did not know what was happening around them?

The same can be said for all the hospital workers who now feign ignorance about Hamas using their medical facilities. Another U.N. agency, the World Health Organization, has been complaining about Israeli troops entering the facilities they operated with Hamas arsenals and command centers. The WHO name and logo were prominently displayed in the basement of the Rantisi Hospital, where the IDF found weapons, explosives and evidence hostages may have been held there.

In the past, Shifa Hospital was known as the command center where Hamas leaders hid. PBS filmed terrorists in the hallways, and yet medical workers continue to deny they knew anything about their presence, and the media accepts their testimony.

Are they oblivious, liars, members of Hamas or simply fearful of the repercussions for telling the truth?

Hospital after hospital, along with mosques, schools and residences, have proven to be Hamas shields that make them legitimate military targets under international law; nevertheless, Israel is criticized for taking steps to neutralize the threats they pose.

And what about all those “innocent” civilians who somehow ended up with tunnel entrances and weapons in their children’s bedrooms? Were they out shopping when Hamas was turning them into human shields? Or were they active participants?

If you visit Tel Aviv today, everyone can see where the new light rail and subway are being constructed. How could no aid workers see the Gaza “metro” being built?

WHO and UNRWA are not the only aid organizations that are enablers of Hamas. I’ve already written about the International Committee of the Red Cross using similar excuses to those it made for its inaction to help Jews during World War II. Do you see their leaders on TV demanding the release of Israeli hostages and access to determine their health and to provide needed medical care? No, you see them dissembling over their helplessness to act.

Where is the U.N. assistance for the roughly 200,000 Israelis who the terror attacks in the north and south of Israel have made internal refugees? Why aren’t they entitled to aid? Is anyone even aware that UNRWA initially was supposed to help Jewish refugees after the 1948 war but didn’t have to because Israel took care of them? Now, Israel is doing the same, but it is a tremendous financial burden. We know the Gazans will be showered with international funding after the war to reconstruct Gaza. Will the United Nations or any other non-Jewish agency or country provide funding to help rebuild Jewish communities?

If you go to the UNICEF website, it says at the top, “unicef, for every child” and then a large banner, “Children in Gaza need life-saving support.” What about support for Israeli children, like those who are still captives of Hamas, and those who were released and face a lifetime of dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder?

According to its website, UNICEF works in Israel “to promote children’s rights, raise funds to support our work and provide visibility to children’s issues worldwide.” If you go to the national page for Israel, it does have photos of hostages. It says, “UNICEF calls for the immediate and unconditional release of all the Israeli children abducted, free of any harm.” If you click on the associated link, it takes you to a press release issued on Oct. 17 condemning the massacre and treatment of children. The word Hamas or terrorism does not appear anywhere. No other statements are on the website, which is devoted primarily to raising money for the organization to help children outside Israel. I may have missed it, but I have not seen Israel’s UNICEF representative speaking out for the Israeli children, though I have seen a representative repeatedly expressing concern for Palestinians.

Before billions of dollars are sent to help rebuild Gaza, there must be a thorough investigation of the corruption of the aid agencies and their role in enabling Hamas to use their facilities. UNRWA is decades overdue to be dismantled, and refugee aid turned over to the U.N. agency responsible for all other refugees. The rolls must be pared so assistance is only provided to the refugees from 1948, not their ancestors in perpetuity. Money must also go towards establishing permanent housing for Gazans and not rebuilding camps that are breeding grounds for terrorists.

U.N. agencies that are supposed to provide services to all members in an unbiased and nonpolitical way must also meet the needs of Israelis who were the victims of the Oct. 7 massacre and continue to be targeted by Iran-sponsored terrorists. As an organization created to promote world peace, the United Nations must take action to condemn by name Iran and the terrorists responsible for the current conflict and prevent a war in Lebanon by enforcing Resolution 1701 requiring the disarming of Hezbollah, prohibiting the smuggling of weapons into Lebanon and removing the presence of terrorists south of the Litani River.

The opinions and facts presented in this article are those of the author, and neither JNS nor its partners assume any responsibility for them.
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