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Knesset’s Christian Allies Caucus calls to dismantle UNRWA

The U.N. agency was created to perpetuate the conflict, MK Sharren Haskel tells E.U. lawmakers.

MK Sharren Haskel (second from left), co-chair of the Knesset’s Christian Allies Caucus, at the European Parliament in Brussels, Dec. 6, 2023. Photo: Courtesy.
MK Sharren Haskel (second from left), co-chair of the Knesset’s Christian Allies Caucus, at the European Parliament in Brussels, Dec. 6, 2023. Photo: Courtesy.

The United Nations has become an accomplice to Palestinian terrorism, and UNRWA, its organization that deals exclusively with Palestinian refugees and their descendants, needs to be dismantled, a leader of the Knesset’s Christian Allies Caucus told European parliamentarians on Wednesday.

The remarks come amid a groundswell of reports of terror ties among UNRWA officials following the Oct. 7 Hamas massacre, including an eyewitness account that a UNRWA school teacher held one of the Israeli hostages in the basement of his Gaza home and the discovery of missiles and other weapons hidden among UNRWA relief supplies.

“The most deeply engrained institution in Gaza—that allows for the indoctrination of Gaza youth, so that some of them eventually grew up to join Hamas, becoming the terrorists who raped women, beheaded men and took babies as hostages—is an international institution, which your governments fund,” Knesset member Sharren Haskel (National Unity) said in a keynote address to lawmakers at the European Parliament in Brussels.

“An accomplice to the indoctrination of Palestinians in Gaza, which culminated in the Hamas Oct. 7 massacre—is the United Nations, and specifically UNRWA,” she continued.

In her remarks, Haskel, who co-chairs the Knesset’s Christian Allies Caucus, called for a cutoff in E.U. funding, reiterating longstanding Israeli views that UNRWA was created to perpetuate the conflict by granting Palestinians refugee status seven and a half decades after the establishment of the State of Israel although no other persons in the world would qualify under the same circumstances.

UNRWA, which the U.N. established in 1949 to carry out relief and work programs for the hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who fled their homes during the 1948 War of Independence, defines refugees not only as refugees themselves but also their descendants in perpetuity. As such, the number of Palestinian refugees listed with the organization has mushroomed from 750,000 in 1950 to nearly six million today.

The main UN refugee agency, UNHCR, which cares for the rest of the refugees in the world, has no such policy.

“This UN agency [UNRWA] was born in sin … and exists to perpetuate the refugee status—from generation to generation,” Haskel said. “If we are able to shut UNRWA down after the war [‘Operation Swords of Iron’], we stand a much better chance at peace.”

MK Sharren Haskel with German MEP Helmut Geuking at the European Parliament in Brussels, Dec. 6, 2023. Photo: Courtesy.

Money flow to UNRWA

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has long said UNRWA should be abolished and its responsibilities taken over by the main U.N. refugee agency.

Amid decades of reports of hate and terror indoctrination, the Trump administration cut off U.S. funding for UNRWA in 2018, a move President Joe Biden reversed shortly after taking office in 2021.

This summer, the U.S. State Department allocated more than $200 million for UNRWA despite its schools’ curriculum glorifying violence and terrorism as well as an agreement conditioning funding on the prevention of teaching hate and antisemitism.

The new funds brought the total United States assistance to UNRWA during the Biden administration to more than $600 million, cementing the United States’ status as UNRWA’s largest donor, according to the White House.

The E.U. contributed $114 million last year, while Germany allocated $200 million.

A new and improved PA?

In her address at the parliamentary conference on the radicalization in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the road to peace, Haskel also poured cold water on the U.S.’s stated goal of creating a “revitalized” Palestinian Authority post-war, reflecting the national consensus on the issue in Israel.

“The next time someone tells you the Palestinian Authority should be strengthened and should run Gaza, ask them what the Palestinian Authority has to say about what Hamas did on Oct. 7,” she said.

The P.A. has declined to unequivocally condemn the Hamas massacre.

European lawmakers at the E.U. Israel Allies Caucus’s conference on radicalization in Palestinian-Israeli conflict, Dec. 6, 2023. Photo: Courtesy.

‘Feeding the crocodile’

The conference of European lawmakers, which was organized by the Israel Allies Foundation, addressed topics related to the E.U.’s role in combating the spread of radicalization and antisemitism.

“Radicalization is a looming danger, both in the Middle East and in Europe,” said MEP Bert-Jan Ruissen of the Netherlands. “It is often invisible until it suddenly comes to the surface and confronts many. The atrocities committed on Oct. 7 are a terrifying example of what radicalization can lead to.”

“The EU parliament has been feeding the crocodile, hoping it would eat it last,” Josh Reinstein, director of the Knesset’s Christian Allies Caucus, told JNS. “As radical Islam spreads across Europe at unprecedented speed, the E.U. needs to decide if it will now stand with Israel or continue its policy of appeasement.”

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