Dr. Suhail al-Hindi is a man of many titles. He’s been the chairman of the Association of Palestinian Workers of UNRWA (the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East) since 2012. He is the principal of an UNRWA elementary school.

This week, he was elected to the governing council of Hamas’ Gaza regime.

The Israeli Defense Ministry’s Coordinator for Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) is one of the sources cited in news reports of al-Hindi’s new position. “The name Suheil Ahmad Hassan al-Hindi has emerged as one of those selected for membership in the Hamas politburo,” says a report published on COGAT’s website.

UNRWA identified al-Hindi as their employee when it issued a statement that al-Hindi could not serve on the governing Gaza council, since UNRWA employees are not allowed to assume political office. In this way, after years of UNRWA denying that it employed members of Hamas on its payroll, UNRWA inadvertently admitted to that it has done so.

According to multiple news outlets, UNRWA has now suspended al-Hindi, pending further investigation.

U.S. law forbids financial allocations to any agency that employs members of Hamas, designated by the US as a foreign terrorist organization (FTO). The US also funds almost $400 million, or one-third, of the total annual UNRWA budget according to the institution’s website.

How effective the UNRWA removal of al-Hindi will be remains a question. In 2013, UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness assertedthat Al Hindi had been fired by UNRWA; however, al-Hindi was only suspended by UNRWA for a total of three days. This revolving-door problem with al-Hindi was confirmed by IDF Col. (res) Reuven Ehlich, director of the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center.

Another senior official in Israeli intelligence warned that the election of Dr. Suhail al-Hindi to the Gaza governing council is an illustration of Hamas penetration into the Gaza school system and all UNRWA institutions in Gaza (the official spoke on condition of anonymity). Since Hamas is the ruling power in the Gaza Strip, its military training inside the educational system is not curbed by UNRWA.

The same official also noted that Hamas’ influence in the UNRWA schools in Gaza has enabled Hamas to train young children from the age of 11 in the art of operating all forms of heavy weaponry.

Despite all this, UNRWA has not asked that all members of Hamas employed by UNRWA be fired. An inquiry to the U.S. State Department on this issue has not yet been answered.

David Bedein is the director of the Israel Resource News Agency at the Center for Near East Policy Research in Beit Agron, Jerusalem.



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Previous articleUNRWA announced the suspension of Dr. Suhail al-Hindi, chairman of the UNRWA staff union in the Gaza Strip, after his election to Hamas’ political bureau. In 2011 he was also suspended by UNRWA for his affiliation with Hamas, but remained in his position.
Next articleMuhammad al-Jamassi, senior engineer in UNRWA’s engineering department in the Gaza Strip, was also identified as a newly elected member of Hamas’ political bureau.
David Bedein
David Bedein is an MSW community organizer and an investigative journalist.   In 1987, Bedein established the Israel Resource News Agency at Beit Agron to accompany foreign journalists in their coverage of Israel, to balance the media lobbies established by the PLO and their allies.   Mr. Bedein has reported for news outlets such as CNN Radio, Makor Rishon, Philadelphia Inquirer, Los Angeles Times, BBC and The Jerusalem Post, For four years, Mr. Bedein acted as the Middle East correspondent for The Philadelphia Bulletin, writing 1,062 articles until the newspaper ceased operation in 2010. Bedein has covered breaking Middle East negotiations in Oslo, Ottawa, Shepherdstown, The Wye Plantation, Annapolis, Geneva, Nicosia, Washington, D.C., London, Bonn, and Vienna. Bedein has overseen investigative studies of the Palestinian Authority, the Expulsion Process from Gush Katif and Samaria, The Peres Center for Peace, Peace Now, The International Center for Economic Cooperation of Yossi Beilin, the ISM, Adalah, and the New Israel Fund.   Since 2005, Bedein has also served as Director of the Center for Near East Policy Research.   A focus of the center's investigations is The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). In that context, Bedein authored Roadblock to Peace: How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict - UNRWA Policies Reconsidered, which caps Bedein's 28 years of investigations of UNRWA. The Center for Near East Policy Research has been instrumental in reaching elected officials, decision makers and journalists, commissioning studies, reports, news stories and films. In 2009, the center began decided to produce short movies, in addition to monographs, to film every aspect of UNRWA education in a clear and cogent fashion.   The center has so far produced seven short documentary pieces n UNRWA which have received international acclaim and recognition, showing how which UNRWA promotes anti-Semitism and incitement to violence in their education'   In sum, Bedein has pioneered The UNRWA Reform Initiative, a strategy which calls for donor nations to insist on reasonable reforms of UNRWA. Bedein and his team of experts provide timely briefings to members to legislative bodies world wide, bringing the results of his investigations to donor nations, while demanding reforms based on transparency, refugee resettlement and the demand that terrorists be removed from the UNRWA schools and UNRWA payroll.   Bedein's work can be found at: www.IsraelBehindTheNews.com and www.cfnepr.com. A new site,unrwa-monitor.com, will be launched very soon.