UNRWA’s Hamas Employees

Peter Hansen (pictured at right), Commissioner-General of the UN agency in Gaza and the West Bank, made a startling admission in an interview with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation on Monday (10/4):

I am sure that there are Hamas members on the UNRWA payroll and I don’t see that as a crime… we do not do political vetting and exclude people from one persuasion as against another.

With this statement, Hansen verified what Israel has long contended ? the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), rather than performing a neutral humanitarian role in Palestinian regions, is actually infested with terrorists who use international funds and UN safe havens to facilitate attacks on Israeli civilians.

Hansen attempted to draw a distinction between UN employees who identify with Hamas ‘politically,’ as opposed to ‘militant’ Hamas members, but that distinction has been categorically rejected by the United States and the European Union, both of which blacklist all branches of Hamas, and freeze all Hamas assets, without exception.

Despite the gravity of this matter, Hansen’s admission that Hamas members are on the UN payroll has ? as of now ? received scant media attention. The Associated Press, for example, buried Hansen’s statement in an article that focused primarily on IDF air strikes, and the New York Times has yet to even acknowledge Hansen’s admission.

This error of omission is particularly troubling in light of Israel’s ongoing campaign in Gaza to stop Hamas from firing rockets into Israeli towns such as Sderot.

Hansen has long been accused of anti-Israel bias. In the wake of the 2002 Jenin operation, Hansen gave interviews falsely describing ‘wholesale obliteration… a human catastrophe that has few parallels in recent history,’ ‘helicopters… strafing civilian residential areas,’ and ‘bodies… piling up’ in ‘mass graves.’ Some of this carnage Hansen even claimed to have seen ‘with my own eyes.’

KASSAM TRANSPORT, HISTORY OF ABUSE

Hansen’s admission of UN/Hamas links came amidst a controversy over suspicious use of a UN ambulance in Gaza, with some claiming that footage from an airborne drone (pictured at right) shows Palestinian terrorists hiding a Kassam rocket in the vehicle.

Regardless of whether this specific incident constituted abuse, the UNRWA ? under Hansen’s watch ? has been responsible for numerous documented acts of abetting Palestinian terrorism, including:

? May 2004: Armed Palestinians are filmed (at left) using UNRWA ambulances to transport terrorists and, possibly, remains of fallen Israeli soldiers in Gaza.

? Sept. 2003: After the Israeli military court convicts three UNRWA employees for terrorist activities (such as throwing firebombs at a public bus), Israel detains at least 16 other UNRWA staff members for various security-related matters.

Dec. 2002: A Shin Bet report indicates that numerous UNRWA facilities in the West Bank and Gaza had been used by Palestinian terrorists as meeting grounds and for weapons storage.

? Sept. 2002: Nahd Attala, a senior official of UNRWA in Gaza, reveals that in June-July 2002, he used his UNRWA car for the transportation of armed members of Fatah who were on their way to carry out a missile attack against Jewish settlements. In addition, Nahd admits he used an UNRWA car to transport a 12 kg explosive charge for his brother-in-law, a Fatah member.

?  August 2002: Nidal Nazzal, a Hamas member and ambulance driver employed by UNRWA, confesses to transporting weapons and explosives in an UNRWA ambulance, and that he had taken advantage of the freedom of movement he enjoyed to transmit messages among Hamas members in various Palestinian towns.

?  February 2002: Alaa Muhammad Ali Hassan, a Tanzim member, confesses during interrogation that he had carried out a sniper shooting from the school run by UNRWA in the al-Ayn refugee camp near Nablus. He also told his interrogators that bombs intended for terrorist attacks were being manufactured inside the UNRWA school’s facilities.

FUNDED BY WESTERN DEMOCRACIES

The infiltration of the UNRWA by Palestinian terrorists is all the more disturbing given the funding structure of this international ‘humanitarian’ organization. As David Bedein reports:

The salaries of UNRWA workers are paid through contributions that UNRWA receives from 38 contributing countries. The U.S. provides 30% of that budget, Canada contributes 4% of that budget, and the European countries contribute well over 55% of that budget.

In other words, the western democracies of the world pay the salaries of the Hamas terrorists on the payroll of UNRWA.

Upon hearing Hansen’s admission of Hamas members on the UNRWA payroll, a spokesperson for Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs said, ‘we are deeply concerned, and will immediately seek clarification from Mr. Hansen directly and from UN authorities.’

Canada’s contribution to UNRWA is $10 million a year, and total US support to UNRWA is approximately $100 million per year. This, despite the fact that the use of US taxpayer funds for foreign refugees who have engaged in acts of terrorism is illegal under the amended Section 301(c) of the 1961 Foreign Assistance Act.

A conference of UN donor countries to discuss ongoing aid to Palestinians is slated to meet in Norway on November 30.

ACTION ITEM:

As indicated above, Peter Hansen’s startling admission of Hamas members on the UNRWA payroll has received almost no press coverage.

HonestReporting urges subscribers to contact the major news outlets, using, if you wish, the short sample letter printed below.

? The New York Times: letters@nytimes.com

=”2″ face=”Times New Roman”> ?
Washington Post: letters@washpost.com
? Boston Globe: letter@globe.com
? Chicago Tribune: [click here]
? Atlanta Journal-Constitution: letters@ajc.com
? Los Angeles Times: letters@latimes.com
? San Francisco Chronicle: letters@sfchronicle.com
? Seattle Post-Intelligencer: editpage@seattlepi.com

SAMPLE LETTER:

Dear Editor,

This week (Oct. 4), the Commissioner-General of the UN agency in Gaza and the West Bank, Peter Hansen, admitted that ‘there are Hamas members on the UNRWA payroll.’ I was disturbed to find that this highly newsworthy item did not make its way into your paper in a prominent fashion, particularly in light of Israel’s ongoing campaign in Gaza to stop Hamas from firing rockets into Israeli towns like Sderot.

Hansen’s statement acknowledges the illegal use of US taxpayer funds for members of a terrorist organization. (The US contributes approximately $100 million/year to the UNRWA.) With the upcoming Nov. 30 conference of UN donor countries to discuss ongoing support of Palestinian projects, we should all be concerned about UNRWA’s admission of Hamas members on its payroll.

Sincerely yours,

(your name)

*   *   *

Thank you for your ongoing involvement in the battle against media bias.

HonestReporting

UPDATE: After the publication of this article, Associated Press did acknowledge Hansen’s statement in a number of reports. For example, see this AP report from 10/6.

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