Since the end of the Summer 2014 ‘Operation Protective Edge’ battle, Israelis from all walks of life have expressed concern over terror tunnels dug by Hamas along with the continuing Hamas military presence in Gaza, posing a threat to the entire civilian population in southern Israel. Now these concerns have been confirmed.
UNRWA (The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East) a UN “aid” organization under effective Hamas control in Gaza- has been relegated to full control of the cement imported to Gaza.
UNRWA plays a vital role to play in Gaza: 80% of the 1.7 million Gaza residents actually live in UNRWA refugee camps, defined as “temporary” modes of living for descendants of Arab refugees from the 1948 .They remain in UNRWA facilities under what they think is the UN promise of the “right of return” to Arab villages that existed before the war.
After the August 2014 ceasefire with Hamas , Israel insisted on tight monitoring of construction materials imported into Gaza, to make sure that they would not being used for terror purposes.
Israel was content to let UNRWAcontrol the supply that goes into Gaza, since UNRWA is a humanitarian agency . For that reason, UNRWA acts in effective control over cement brought into Gaza, arriving in UNRWA marked trucks.
The UNSCO (The United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process) Public Information Officer Murad Bakri confirmed that the cement is indeed being supplied via UNRWA to Gaza.
Yet UNRWA schools often act as military training grounds, preparing 50,000 Palestinian Arab children to conduct military activities with Hamas military, coordinated with UNRWA schools. UNRWA has adopted the new PA school curriculum which indoctrinates the new generation to live and die for “right of return” – by force of arms – to villages and towns lost to Israel in 1948, legitimizing violence in that quest.
Earlier this month, the Center for Near East Policy Research released its 7th short documentary film which portrays the incitement and the military training which takes place in cooperation with these schools (). The Center for Near East Policy Research has long documented the presence of Al-Kutla al-Islamiya – an official Hamas arm – which openly operates in the UNRWA schools in Gaza ().
The Administrators Union of UNRWA fell into Hamas’ hands in the 1999 union elections.
In every election since, Hamas has increased its stronghold of the union, creating a situation in which Hamas controls all funds and supplies that are dispatched to UNRWA in Gaza ().
In other words Israel indirectly supplies Hamas – through UNRWA – with cement that Hamas uses to build terror tunnels from which they infiltrate Israel.
A spokesperson for COGAT (The Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories) addressed the complexity of the issue, saying that “Up to this point, over 100,000 homes have been repaired, thousands have been built and hundreds of international projects have been built for the benefit of the Gazan population.” She also noted the IDF attempts to protect Israel in this situation by saying that supplies assisting the rehabilitation of Gaza are allowed in “only after extensive UN and Israeli security supervision.”
However, intelligence sources reveal that roughly 80% of all cement that arrives in Gaza still reaches Hamas.
Likud MK Dr. Anat Berko, an academic counter-terror intelligence expert, warned that “It is clear to everyone that some of the cement serves the tunnel industry and restoration of Hamas, rather than the rehabilitation of Gaza. UNRWA is a body formed by the UN yet controlled by Hamas, whose facilities were used to shoot rockets at Israelis during ‘Operation Protective Edge’. Israel tries to separate the needs of the population in Gaza and Hamas by providing humanitarian aid to its citizens, which unfortunately also serves the Hamas.”
Yesh Atid MK Haim Jelin, former regional mayor of the Jewish farming communities near Gaza, confirmed that UNRWA, controlled by Hamas, does oversee the flow of cement into Gaza.
In Jelin’s words, “Under Israeli inspection, cement is transferred to the Gaza strip for UNRWA projects and to repair damaged housing units.” Jelin added that “Due to a shortage in cement in the Gaza strip, the cement is sold at high prices to wealthy people, and some of it is passed to Hamas, which uses it among other things to build tunnels.”
The question remains: Who controls funds for UNRWA?
It turns out that the US government remains the largest donor to UNRWA, contributing $400 million of the $1.2 billion UNRWA budget,
The GAO, the General Accounting Office of the US government, is now conducting its own independent investigation of UNRWA-Hamas terror ties.
The question remains: Is UNRWA involvement with HAMAS in Gaza on the GAO agenda?
At a time when the Trump Administration considers widespread cutbacks to UN agencies, the timing of the GAO inquiry could not be better.
David Bedein , head of the Israel Resource News Agency at the Center for Near East Policy Research, based in Philadelphia and in Jerusalem, has just published a book, THE GENESIS OF THE PALESTINAN AUTHORITY ( Behr Publishing House, Rabbi Bernhard Rosenberg, Editor.), Bedein also authored UNRWA: AN OBSTACLE TO PEACE, published in 2014.
Amram Sherby works as a correspondent for the Israel Resource News Agency at the Center for Near East Policy Research