The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) was founded in 1950, with its’ stated goals of providing“education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, microfinance and emergency assistance” for over 5 million Palestinian refugees.
These praiseworthy efforts have improved the lives of countless Palestinians, yet in recent years their efforts have been subverted by the terror organizations that have taken over UNRWA facilities and resources.
Most recently, ample evidence has accumulated during Operation “Protective Edge,” which started on July 8, 2014, linking Palestinian terrorist organizations to UNRWA.
Hamas’ de facto takeover of UNRWA institutions in the Gaza Strip
The UNRWA workers union has been controlled in practice by Hamas for many years. The “Professional List”, headed by senior Hamas activist Suheil Al-Hindi, won a landslide victory in the elections for the UNRWA workers union held in September 2012.
In the elections, in which nearly 11,500 employees of UNRWA voted, the “Professional List” won all 11 seats allocated to the teachers’ sector, 6 of 7 seats in the employees’ sector and 8 out of 9 seats in the service sector.
The “Al-Karama (Honor) List,” affiliated with the Islamic Jihad organization, also participated in the elections, whereas the Fatah movement chose to boycott them, claiming that Hamas controls the UNRWA workers union and limits its activities.The 2012 workers union elections were not the first ones to be won by Hamas. They also won the 2009 elections. The bloc affiliated with Hamas also won the previous election for the UNRWA workers union by an overwhelming majority. Lists affiliated with Hamas, Islamic Jihad, the PLO (uniting representatives of the PFLP, Fatah and the People’s Party) and the independents took part in the 2009 elections. 17 representatives of Hamas (63%), four from the PFLP, four from Fatah, one from the People’s Party and one from the independents were elected to the union, which includes 27 members.
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