[Since the US, the UK, Canada, Australia and the EU forbid the transfer of their respective allocations to UNRWA if it employs members of terrorist organizations, the question remains as to how these respective governments will respond to this latest development- David Bedein]

1. In the recent elections for Hamas’ political bureau, the movement’s highest institution in the Gaza Strip, 15 members were chosen. Yahya al-Sinwar, affiliated with Hamas’ military wing, was chosen as chairman. The new political bureau has many members affiliated with Hamas’ military wing and is dominated by members who hold extremist positions.

2. Two of the new members are employed by UNRWA in senior positions. One, Dr. Suhail Ahmed Hassan al-Hindi, is chairman of the UNRWA staff union in the Gaza Strip and the principal of a boys’ elementary school (a number of days after the results of the elections were published, UNRWA announced his suspension). Another UNRWA employee elected to Hamas’ political bureau was Muhammad Daoud Ismail al-Jamassi (Abu Obeida), an engineer, who is head of UNRWA’s engineering department for the refugee camps in the central Gaza Strip.

3. The election of Suhail al-Hindi and Muhammad al-Jamassi to the new Hamas political bureau indicates their seniority in Hamas and the importance Hamas gives to activists who hold senior positions in UNRWA. Hamas exploits its extensive support among UNRWA employees to strengthen its control of the Gazan population and promote its military wing. In ITIC assessment, since Muhammad al-Jamassi is responsible for renovation and construction in refugee camps, Hamas may use his access to contributions and materials to promote its own interests (as it uses Dr. Suhail al-Hindi and other teachers and principals who are Hamas activists to indoctrinate school children with its radical Islamist ideology and to maintain a paramilitary presence in the schools).

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