Israel Hasn’t Offered Evidence Tying U.N. Workers to Hamas, Review Says

By John Mercury April 23, 2024

Israel has not provided evidence to support its allegations that many employees of the main U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees are members of terrorist organizations, according to an independent review commissioned by the United Nations that was released on Monday.

The review did not address Israel’s allegation that a dozen employees of the agency, known as UNRWA, were involved in the Hamas-led assault on Israel on Oct. 7. “It is a separate mission, and it is not in our mandate,” said Catherine Colonna, the former French foreign minister who led the inquiry.

The review was announced in January, before Israel circulated claims that one in 10 of UNRWA’s 13,000 employees in the Gaza Strip was a member of Hamas or its ally, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and that some of those employees took part in the Oct. 7 attack.

But by the time investigators started working on the review in early February, Israel had leveled those charges, giving the inquiry added significance.

Speaking at a news conference at U.N. headquarters in New York on Monday, Ms. Colonna said she wanted to be “very clear” that the question of involvement in Oct. 7 is a separate question, one that remains under internal investigation by the U.N.

While Israel has not produced evidence of ties to Hamas and other militant groups among UNRWA workers, that does not mean there is no evidence, she noted. “It’s very different,” she said.


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