UNRWA Teachers’ Telegram Channel Glorifies Oct. 7 Hamas Massacre
Jerusalem, 10 January, 2024 (TPS) -- A Telegram channel for UNRWA teachers in Gaza with over 3,000 members contains messages glorifying the Hamas massacre of Oct. 7 and encouraging the execution of Israeli hostages, an investigation by Geneva-based human rights NGO UN Watch has found.
“This is the motherlode of UNRWA teachers’ incitement to jihadi terrorism,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch.
The Telegram group provides a forum for Gaza-based education workers from the United Nations agency tasked with supporting Palestinians displaced during the 1948 war and their descendants.
Neuer exposed the pro-Hamas and pro-terrorism messages in a series of tweets, including calling out UNRWA teacher Waseem Ula, who posts information he receives from UNRWA Gaza education chief Sami Abu Kamil on salaries. Ula calls to kill Israelis and glorifies a terrorist who participated in the Oct. 7 massacre. He also shared a video celebrating Hamas attacks and posted a picture of a suicide bomb vest with explosives with the caption: “Wait, sons of Judaism.”
Another UNRWA teacher, Abdallah Mehjez, who previously worked for the BBC, urges Gazans to become human shields for Hamas.
In another example, UNRWA teacher Shatha Husam Al Nawajha wishes that “Allah grant” victory to the Hamas terrorists.
“All these acts are gross violations of the UN Code of Conduct. We call on the UN and Member States to recognize that UNRWA is infested with incitement to terror,” Neuer tweeted.
Another report published in November by the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-se) revealed evidence of UNRWA teachers and other staff members expressing support for the Oct. 7 massacre.
The report showed that at least 14 teachers and staff at UNRWA schools publicly celebrated the Hamas massacre and other Hamas attacks on their social media accounts.
Israel’s Foreign Ministry has put together a classified report calling for the removal of UNRWA from the Gaza Strip in the long-term, noting that the U.N. relief agency works against Israel’s interests.
The report’s recommendations set out a three-stage process for shrinking and eventually eliminating UNRWA, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees, from the Strip: 1) Prepare a case detailing UNRWA’s cooperation with Hamas; 2) Reduce UNRWA’s field of activity and find replacement service providers; and 3) Transfer UNRWA’s responsibilities to another entity.
The U.S. is UNRWA’s largest donor, disbursing almost $1 billion in funds to the U.N. agency over the last five years, followed by the European Union and other countries. More than half of Gaza’s 500,000 students attend UNRWA-operated schools. These schools teach the Palestinian Authority curriculum, which has been condemned by the US and European Union for incitement to violence, hatred and antisemitism in its school textbooks
The UN Watch report comes on the heels of Knesset discussions on the future of Israel’s relations with the UN agency.
Israel has long said 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.
Established by the U.N. in 1949 to carry out relief and work programs for the hundreds of thousands of Arabs who fled their homes during the 1948-49 War of Independence, UNRWA defines refugees not only as refugees themselves but also their descendants in perpetuity, including those who have citizenship in other countries. As a result, the number of Palestinian “refugees” registered with the organization has mushroomed from 750,000 in 1950 to nearly six million today.
The main U.N. refugee agency, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) which cares for the rest of the refugees in the world, has no such policy.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has long said UNRWA should be abolished and its responsibilities taken over by UNHCR.