Israel Considering Removing UNRWA From Gaza Following War Completion

Israel Considering Removing UNRWA From Gaza Following War Completion

A UNRWA teacher was accused by an Israeli journalist of having held one of the hostages.

By Troy O. Fritzhand, The Algemeiner

The Israeli Foreign Ministry has initiated a plan to remove the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) — the global organization’s agency dedicated solely to the refugees and descendants of Palestinians who fled during Israel’s 1948 War of Independence — from Gaza at the end of the year, according to Israel’s Channel 12.

The plan, laid out in three stages in general terms, would consist of first compiling concrete evidence of the agency’s activity with Hamas terrorists, followed by the scaling down of its work in Gaza in areas such as education, health care, and food security. Finally, according to the Israeli report, UNRWA would be rooted out completely, with its current powers put in the hands of the entity that would take over Gaza after the completion of Israel’s military campaign and the defeat of Hamas.

It is unclear how Gaza will be governed after the current Israel-Hamas war concludes. Israel has said its goal is to wipe out the Palestinian terror group from the coastal enclave bordering the Jewish state’s south.

Israel and allied activists, along with some governments outside the Jewish state, have long expressed concern that UNRWA is promoting antisemitism and terrorism.

A report published last month by the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-se), an independent research group, found that at least 14 teachers at UNRWA-run schools had praised the Oct. 7 pogrom carried out by Hamas terrorists in southern Israel.

During the onslaught, Hamas-led terrorists murdered 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and kidnapped 240 others as hostages.

Another UNRWA teacher was separately accused by an Israeli journalist of having held one of the hostages, depriving him of food and medical attention. For its part, UNRWA has strongly denied that there is any basis to that claim.

Other reports have accused the UN agency of promoting incitement against Israel and Jews. For example, a 2023 joint report by Impact-se and UN Watch, a Geneva-based NGO that works to counter anti-Israel bias at the UN, found that UNRWA employees had created classroom material celebrating the firebombing of a Jewish bus as a “barbecue party,” encouraging students to pursue jihad and martyrdom, erasing Israel from maps, and encouraging students to “liberate the homeland” with “their blood,” among other examples of incitement to radicalism.

UNRWA staffs more than 30,000 workers and is heavily funded by the US government — a fact that could be a hindrance to Israel’s plan. UNRWA’s mandate ultimately comes from the UN General Assembly.

Hurdles aside, the Israeli plan, once finalized, will be presented to the government cabinet for deliberation on how best to proceed.

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