Israel’s Claims Against UN Relief Agency Lack Evidence

The Daily Beast also obtained a copy of the Israeli dossier and —similar to Channel 4 — reported Tuesday that it “includes little evidence to back up” Israel’s allegations against UNRWA employees.

Palestine’s Riyad Mansour at U.N. meeting in New York for UNRWA representatives and donor countries of the Palestine relief agency, Jan. 30. (UN Photo/Mark Garten)

By Jake Johnson
Common Dreams

An Israeli dossier that more than a dozen countries have cited to justify cutting off funding to the United Nations’ Palestinian refugee agency “provides no evidence” that a small number of the key U.N. aid body’s employees were involved in the Oct. 7 Hamas-led attack, according to an investigation released Monday by the British outlet Channel 4

The dossier merely states that 

“from intelligence information, documents, and identity cards seized during the course of the fighting, it is now possible to flag around 190 Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist operatives who serve as UNRWA employees.”

“More than 10 UNRWA staffers took part in the events of [Oct. 7],” reads the six-page dossier, which Israel provided to UNRWA donor countries — including the agency’s top contributor, the United States — shortly after the International Court of Justice (ICJ) handed down an interim decision ordering Israel to take concrete steps to prevent genocide in the Gaza Strip.

The ICJ instructed the Israeli government to ensure that sufficient humanitarian assistance flows to desperate and starving Gazans, but Israel’s allegations against UNRWA employees led at least 16 countries to suspend funding for the agency, the most critical aid body operating in the Palestinian enclave. 

Around a million displaced Gazans are currently sheltering at facilities run by UNRWA, which has 13,000 employees across the strip.

The UNRWA is reportedly set to lose $65 million by the end of February as donors’ funding cuts take effect, imperiling the agency’s operations in Gaza and across the Middle East.

Channel 4 noted Monday that all 13,000 of UNRWA’s Gaza employees’ names “have been checked against the U.N. terrorism list and, as recently as last May, were vetted and approved by Israel.”

The UNRWA quickly fired nine of the employees named by Israel. On Monday, U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres established “an independent review group to assess whether the agency is doing everything within its power to ensure neutrality and to respond to allegations of serious breaches when they are made.”

The Daily Beast also obtained a copy of the Israeli dossier and — similar to Channel 4 — reported Tuesday that it “includes little evidence to back up” Israel’s allegations against UNRWA employees.

Ashish Prashar, a spokesperson for Gaza Voices, said in response to the new reporting that “we now know that the document used to suspend funding to UNRWA ‘provides no evidence.'” 

“This is the latest campaign in a decades-long attack on UNRWA by Israel and a subset of the broader campaign to eliminate the Palestinian refugee issue,” said Prashar. 

“People in Gaza are starving, and because of spurious allegations made in a dodgy dossier, they will experience worse hunger. This scandal should lead to resignations from officials in the U.S., U.K., Germany, and elsewhere who all suspended funding to a besieged people experiencing a genocide as a result of a baseless accusation by the génocidaires themselves.”

Jeremy Scahill, a senior correspondent at The Intercept‘s criticized the Biden administration and The Wall Street Journal for characterizing the dossier as “some smoking gun.” 

During a press conference last week, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken called the allegations in the dossier “highly, highly credible.” 

The same day as Blinken’s remarks, the Journal ran a story stating that around 10 percent of UNRWA’s Gaza employees “have ties to Islamist militant groups,” pointing to an “intelligence dossier.”

[Related: By Hurting UN Agency, the West Sides With Genocide]

But questions about the reliability of the purported intelligence cited in the Israeli dossier have been swirling since the details of its contents began to trickle out in the press late last month. Citing one unnamed senior Israeli official, Axios reported that “the intelligence is a result of interrogations of militants who were arrested during the Oct. 7 attack.”

Israeli forces have repeatedly been accused by U.N. experts and human rights groups of using torture to extract forced confessions from Palestinian detainees.

“The fact that the U.S., U.K. and several other Western governments instantly attacked UNRWA on the orders of a genocidal foreign government (based on bogus claims) should make you very worried about your own democracy,” Craig Mokhiber, a former U.N. official who resigned over the global institution’s failure to stop Israel’s assault on Gaza, wrote Tuesday.

Jake Johnson is a staff writer for Common Dreams.

This article is from Common Dreams.

17 comments for “Israel’s Claims Against UN Relief Agency Lack Evidence

  1. February 8, 2024 at 08:52

    It’s somewhat baffling how many Republicans who see how inaccurate news reporting and the Biden administration is with respect to electoral and cultural information don’t recognize the same issue when it comes to Israeli propaganda. Fortunately, “many Republicans” is not the same as “all Republicans” and even more fortunate, many Democrats and most independents and third party supporters and especially younger Jews are now much less deluded. Not that it seems to matter though as far as government policy in the purported “West”.

  2. Nyah
    February 7, 2024 at 21:06

    Some IOF soldiers have been posting torturous snuff videos, that they’ve made, to a Telegram channel. “We burned their mother”, “Listen to their bones crunch”, are some of the quotes. Why haven’t arms deliveries to them been suspended?

    • Piotr Berman
      February 8, 2024 at 11:13

      My conclusion is that people deciding on arm deliveries and assorted other supports like vetoes in UNSC, attacking people who actively resist the genocide, repressing uni-genocide protesters etc. enjoy those videos and wish for more.

  3. Horatio
    February 7, 2024 at 12:12

    When one looks with a clear eye about the event of October 7, he would realize that the event was not only a jail break, but a clear military action that had a tactical and strategic objective that has so far been met. To wit: it put on hold the normalization of relations with Saudi Arabia that was in the works at the time; it obtained thru a fire-fight with the IDF hostages that would be used in a hostage trade with the Israelis; and showed for the world to see the callousness of the Israelis that had been under the radar for so long thanks to the Israeli press.

  4. Renate
    February 7, 2024 at 11:35

    All the lies come from the Western democracies with no evidence to back up a single one.
    Almost all Democracies are governed by criminal officials.

  5. Guy St Hilaire
    February 7, 2024 at 10:52

    As I suspected from the onset of the allegations .The Israeli times reported the intent of hijacking the UNRWA back in Dec.2023 .

  6. Vera Gottlieb
    February 7, 2024 at 10:04

    And even IF the UNRWA employees were involved IF…Punish the guilty employees and not an entire population that is already suffering enough under the Zionist Nazis

    • rosemerry
      February 7, 2024 at 13:59

      Not only that-why should Gazan people NOT back their Party, Hamas? Israelis are allowed to support any of their groups destroying Palestine. Of course, those blamed (fancy Israel vetting all those thousands of poor employees-what paranoia) could have had the usual “interrogations” (torture) to admit to this terrible crime of aiding the resistance to genocide.

  7. CurvedBall
    February 7, 2024 at 05:48

    “They are doing it thereby being complicit in their own transcendence.”

    With a little help from their friends.


    Do you believe in a love at first sight?

  8. Nathan Mulcahy
    February 7, 2024 at 01:23

    The 16 or so western countries should be charged and prosecuted for complicity in genocide. I hope South Africa brings this up to ICJ.

    The governments of most western countries have no shame and no morality.

  9. Jeff Harrison
    February 6, 2024 at 21:06

    And “The West” wonders why the Global south is stopping paying attention to “The West”

  10. Fastball
    February 6, 2024 at 17:47

    At this point, it’s become comical:

    1. Israel lies, constantly
    2. Each lie is taken at face value by all western governments without a request for evidence.
    3. Western governments act on the lie to the detriment of Palestinians and in furtherance of a march toward World War III.
    4. A “journalist” or “journalists” point out the lie, but seldom the pattern of pathological and continual lying on the part of the Israel occupation government.
    5. The lie may or may not be exposed, but even if exposed is treated as a one-off.
    6. The western governments do nothing in response to the uncovering of the lie(s) and sometimes actively suppress the evidence of Israel’s lie.
    7. Repeat.

    When will journalists do their duty and point out the tapestry of fabrications, evasions, self serving and outright brazen lying by the Israeli government, instead of treating each lie as a singleton? Inquiring minds want to know.

    • Bruce Edgar
      February 6, 2024 at 19:36

      Sparkling post. I was just going to say: when it comes to Israel, disbelieve and ignore it until it has been verified by reliable parties. There’s already a lot of news discussion about these unverified accusations already. Which, thanks to listener inattentiveness, amounts to a confirmation. For way too many of us.

      • Vera Gottlieb
        February 7, 2024 at 10:08

        Yeah…but so many Western countries have already halted payments – accomplices and guilty by association.

    • CurvedBall
      February 7, 2024 at 05:41

      “When will journalists do their duty”

      Not so fast.

      They are doing it thereby being complicit in their own transcendence.

    • Guy St Hilaire
      February 7, 2024 at 11:09

      Evidence of who controls the media.I agree totally !

  11. Drew Hunkins
    February 6, 2024 at 17:20

    More power to Hamas if some of their liberation fighters worked day jobs with UNRWA.

    I don’t see anyone moving to defund and censure American colleges that graduated plenty of criminal sadistic arrogant Israeli Defense [sic] Forces’ soldiers.

Comments are closed.