Dossier reveals information used to explain UN agency’s deep ties to Hamas in Gaza

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FIRST ON FOX – Fox News Digital obtained a dossier that the Israeli government is said to have used to explain its concerns to the U.S. and other nations about its actions toward a controversial United Nations agency and its relationship with Hamas. 

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (known simply as UNRWA) lost hundreds of millions of dollars from donors after allegations surfaced that at least a dozen employees had ties to and assisted Hamas during the Oct. 7 attack on Israel. 

The United States and several allies in January froze funding to UNRWA, and the agency fired the 12 employees named in the allegations. Since those initial allegations, the number has risen to potentially hundreds of employees with ties to Hamas. 

ISRAEL’S ‘SWORN ENEMY’ HEZBOLLAH TELLS IRAN IT WOULD FIGHT ALONE IF CONFLICT ESCALATES

The dossier reviewed by Fox News Digital includes an updated claim that the number of UNRWA employees directly involved in the Oct. 7 attack has risen to at least 15, with at least three suspected of being involved in the kidnapping of the hostages. This information, presented to ally nations by the Israeli government, allegedly prompted the countries to cut funding to the agency – an act that the majority have not reversed as of this week. 

The information includes allegations that around 17% of UNRWA teachers (out of a total 8,300) and around 20% of UNRWA school principals and deputy principals (out of a total 500) are members of Hamas. Ties to the group extend to UNRWA workers in positions related to relief and humanitarian aid, with about 10% of the 151 relief workers, and members of UNRWA’s health services. 

UNRWA sign

From 2009 to 2024, a little under $4 billion in taxpayer dollars was given to the humanitarian relief organization, according to a Fox News Digital review. (Mahmoud Issa/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

The most serious allegations claim that Hamas has representatives in the UNRWA staff union and influences it, and lines of communication exist at the district level between UNRWA’s district managers and Hamas. According to the information, “due to the scope of UNRWA’s activity in the [Gaza Strip],” Hamas prioritizes its connection with UNRWA, stressing that “in steady state and in contingency state, the Hamas regime coordinates activities with UNRWA.”

Satellite images reviewed by Fox News Digital show two boys’ schools – the Maghazi Prep B Boys School and the Zaitun Prep A Boys School – that allegedly have Hamas tunnels underneath them. Both cases had resulted in UNRWA condemning potential violations of neutrality, but as of 2023 the tunnels remained open. Israel also identified several schools that stood next to rocket and mortar launch sites throughout the Gaza Strip. 

GAZA STRIP RECEIVES NEARLY 200 TONS OF FOOD AND SUPPLIES, UN DESRIBES ‘HUGE OBSTACLES’ TO GETTING RELIEF

Israel has alleged logistical support and exploitation of UNRWA’s immunity, support through supplies and aid, sale of equipment that UNRWA imported to Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) weapons manufacturing units. 

“Furthermore, Hamas assists UNRWA in securing the humanitarian aid that is introduced to the [Gaza Strip],” the dossier explains. “Hamas’ operatives coordinate the aid transfer for UNRWA via Hamas’ tactical network, and have operatives of the Military Wing escort and secure the convoys. UNRWA complies with Hamas’ demands in other areas, as well, such as transferring fuel and additional equipment.”

Split image of a United Nations flag over United Nations builing, the back of a woman being taken by Hamas

United Nations headquarters and flag juxtaposed with a picture of an Israeli woman kidnapped by Hamas terrorists. (Getty Images/Hamas-Telegram)

The dossier also included excerpts from textbooks used in the agency’s school curriculum that allegedly include glorification of martyrdom and antisemitic tropes. Maps provided to children in their textbooks show a singular land where Israel and the Palestinian territories exist but labeled as a singular Palestine. 

Israel has argued that such content violates UNRWA’s neutrality policy, which the agency on its website describes as an understanding that “humanitarian actors must not take sides in hostilities or engage in controversies of a political, racial, religious or ideological nature.” 

VIOLENCE IN SYRIA RISES, AID DRIES UP AS CIVIL WAR BEGINS 14TH YEAR

Hamas terrorists inside Israel during attack

This image made from undated bodycam video footage taken by a downed Hamas terrorist and released by Israel Defense Forces shows a Hamas terrorist walking around a residential neighborhood at an undisclosed location in southern Israel. (Israel Defense Forces via AP)

One excerpt included a math problem which used “the number of martyrs” in the first and second intifadas (meaning rebellion or uprising) and decrees on Allah’s wishes for “hypocrites in fighting against infidels” and honoring martyrs “from among the believers.” 

More than 1,200 Israelis were killed, more than 6,900 civilians are estimated to have been injured, and hundreds more were taken hostage when Hamas launched a surprise attack in southern Israel on Oct. 7, 2023.

“UNRWA, and the United Nations writ-large, have acted swiftly and decisively in the matter of the allegations brought against UNRWA employees, fully cooperating with Israeli authorities, issuing a public disclosure of the allegations and immediately terminating the named employees,” William Deere, senior congressional adviser to the Washington, D.C., office of UNRWA told Fox News Digital. 

Tents and temporary homes in Gaza

An UNRWA tent camp in Khan Yunis, Gaza, on Nov. 27, 2023. (Ashraf Amra/Anadolu via Getty Images)

Deere also claimed that the Israeli government had provided no information beyond the names of the dozen employees and that UNRWA only learned of further accusations of greater numbers of agency employees with ties to Hamas from international media reports and later from a press briefing by an Israeli official. 

U.S. intelligence in February said it was likely some employees of UNRWA participated in the attack, but it also said it could not verify Israeli allegations of wider links between the agency and UNRWA, according to The Wall Street Journal. Citing the assessment, Deere noted “the reality of Hamas’ control in Gaza means that while UNRWA may have to interact at a technical level with the group to deliver humanitarian relief, but that that doesn’t mean that the agency is collaborating with the militant group.” 

Unlike the U.S. and several other countries, the United Nations has yet to recognize Hamas as a terrorist organization.

NETANYAHU APPROVES RAFAH GROUND INVASION, DESPITE BIDEN OPPOSITION

Gaza Strip humanitarian aid

A plane drops humanitarian aid around to Al-Shati refugee camp and Jamal Abdel Nasser Street in Gaza City on March 9, 2024. (Dawoud Abo Alkas/Anadolu via Getty Images)

“Another section of [the] report notes what it says is Israel’s long-standing dislike of UNRWA and how Israeli bias serves to mischaracterize much of their assessments on UNRWA, resulting in distortions,” Deere said. 

“Israeli intelligence agencies said they concluded that 10% of all UNRWA workers had some kind of affiliation, usually political, with Hamas,” the Wall Street Journal reported. “A far smaller number had ties to the militant wings of Hamas and another group, Palestinian Islamic Jihad. UNRWA employs around 12,000 people in Gaza.”

UNRWA, Israel, UN, antisemitism

A new report accuses UNRWA of employing some teachers who promote terrorism against Jews.     (Mahmud Hams/AFP)

Deere said the investigation team from the U.N. Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) had commenced an investigation into the employees and potential ties, but insisted that the Israeli government must assist the investigation. An interim report provided to U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres provided information that led to Canada reversing its decision to cut funding to the agency. 

Another, independent review carried out by former French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna commenced following the allegations against the UNRWA employees, specifically citing concerns that UNRWA was not maintaining its neutrality policy. The group will issue an interim report on March 20, 2024, with a completed report expected exactly one month later. 

HAMAS PROPOSES CEASE-FIRE PLAN THAT INCLUDES 10-TO-1 EXCHANGE OF HOSTAGES, PRISONERS: REPORT

A State Department spokesperson told Fox News Digital that the department is focused on the U.N.’s investigation “to make sure that this is fully and thoroughly investigated, that there’s clear accountability, and that as necessary, measures are put in place so that this doesn’t happen again, assuming the allegations are fully borne out.”

“We welcome the decision by the U.N. to conduct an investigation and a ‘comprehensive and independent’ review of UNRWA, as well as Secretary General Guterres’ pledge to take decisive action to respond, should the allegations prove accurate,” the spokesperson added. 

UNRWA Gaza HQ

A man walks in front of the UNRWA building in Gaza City on Jan. 30, 2023. (Ali Jadallah/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Australia, the European Commission and Sweden also resumed funding for UNRWA in recent weeks: Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs Penny Wong told reporters “the best available current advice from agencies and the Australian government lawyers is that UNRWA is not a terrorist organization,” arguing that it remains paramount to ensure “the integrity of UNRWA’s operations,” rebuild confidence in the organization and ensure aid flows to Gaza. 

Wong also pledged an additional $2.6 million to UNICEF to provide urgent services in Gaza, and a C17 Globemaster plane will also deliver defense force parachutes to help with the U.S.-led airdropping of humanitarian supplies into the enclave, which is on the brink of famine, according to the United Nations.

Survivors and family members of slain victims of the Oct. 7 terrorist attack have initiated a lawsuit against UNRWA USA and UNRWA this week, arguing the two groups are “[i]nextricably [l]inked” in supporting Hamas.”

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“501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations generally do good work. They feed the hungry, help the poor, and house the homeless. But on some very rare occasions, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization finances an international terrorist plot that kills over 1,200 innocent people,” the lawsuit says. “This case involves one of those rare occasions.”

Fox News Digital’s Danielle Wallace, Lawrence Richardson, Brianna Herlihy and The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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