Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.

Are UN Agencies Fighting for Human Rights or Supporting Terrorism?

July 29, 2014 12:38 am 4 comments

The United Nations Human rights council in session. Photo: wiki commons.

Operation Protective Edge has put a significant spotlight on the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) after munitions were found in one of the agency’s schools.

Following the discovery, UNRWA came out, “strongly condemn[ing] the group or groups responsible for placing the weapons in one of its installations. Such an infiltration is a flagrant violation of the inviolability of its premises under international law. The discovery, which is the first of its kind in Gaza, endangered civilians including staff and put at risk UNRWA’s vital mission to assist and protect Palestinian refugees in Gaza.”

However, none of this is new and seemed only to be surprising to UNRWA itself. The group has a long-documented history of terrorist ties, something UNRWA’s former Commissioner General Peter Hansen openly admitted in 2004 to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation stating, “I am sure that there are Hamas members on the UNRWA payroll … and I don’t see that as a crime.”

There have been examples relations between UNRWA schools and staff with dubious affiliations. In 2008, Awad al-Qiq, a headmaster of a top prep school in Gaza, was discovered to also be the chief rocket-maker for Islamic Jihad. He was also a science teacher who worked for an UNRWA school.

In 2002, Nidal Abd al-Fattah Abdallah Nazzal, an ambulance driver for UNRWA from the West Bank town of Qalqiliya, admitted that he was a Hamas member and that he transported munitions in his ambulance, taking blatant advantage of the freedom of movement afforded to UNRWA vehicles by Israel.

UNRWA’s involvement in Palestinian society is unique. Its role as serving the Palestinian refugee population has made it one of the most important and influential Palestinian institutions. The agency now employs nearly 30,000 people, most of whom are Palestinian. This makes UNRWA the single largest employer in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, and indispensable to the Palestinian economy. As such, there is a strong economic incentive to keep the organization afloat.

It cannot be said that the agency is penny-pinching its clientele. When the world hears words like “refugees” and “refugee camps,” it instinctively pictures desperate people living in tents or shantytowns. This generates automatic sympathy and financial support for organizations like UNRWA, which regularly receives monetary contributions amounting to millions of dollars. All this is due to the belief that these funds provide humanitarian aid and help with the assimilation of Palestinian refugees.

In many cases, however, the reality is entirely different. UNRWA-administered refugee camps are often permanent communities at the edges of Palestinian cities, with concrete buildings and supply of water, electricity, and even satellite television. In countries like Syria and Lebanon, the refugee camps exist on the fringes of society. Assimilation seems to be either not possible or desirable. In any case, it has not been realized.

Yet, despite UNRWA’s historic links with terrorists, the Obama administration has committed an additional $15 million in aid to UNRWA services.

It is UNRWA itself that has thrived as the internationally funded health, education and welfare provider for Palestinian refugees. It has become sacrosanct and permanent rather than transitional to provide communities with a better future. By embracing its role as provider to generations of Palestinian “refugees”, UNRWA has forestalled the Palestinian encounter with reality.

UNRWA demonstrates how NGOs and UN agencies have abandoned their humanitarian integrity in favor of a distinct anti-Israel bias. And despite their own internal transgressions, the UN does not hesitate to call for inquiries into Israeli conduct – in 2002 (Jenin), 2006 (Second Lebanon War), and 2008-2009 (Gaza War). Once again, we are hearing calls for a formal UN inquiry into Israel’s use of military force in the current Gaza operation. Agencies including UNRWA, Human Rights Watch (HRW), Amnesty, and others have stepped forward to highlight Israel’s “aggressiveness” and inhumane war.

The actions of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC), which has conducted prior inquiries into Israeli conduct, are driven by the UN member states from the Islamic bloc and other tyrannical regimes. The leading NGOs working in cooperation with the UN feed the inquiry commissions information from left-leaning Israeli groups that call the Israel Defense Forces out on “violations”. The allegations are mostly based on fiction rather than reality.

Even Judge Richard Goldstone, author of the infamous Goldstone Report on the 2008-2009 Gaza War, recanted his findings and called on the UNHRC to reject the document. In an op-ed on the topic, Goldstone wrote, “If I had known then what I know now, the Goldstone Report would have been a different document. That the crimes allegedly committed by Hamas were intentional goes without saying; its rockets were purposely and indiscriminately aimed at civilian targets.”

While Goldstone’s retraction is unlikely to make any serious waves during the current operation in Gaza, it exemplifies the multitude of problems with such independent commissions that seek to demonize Israel rather than understand its motives and actions. This is all the more frustrating when Israel is battling a known Islamist group like Hamas.

Given the politically charged environment in the UN, where honesty is replaced by NGO bias, Israel has good reason to be cautious of such inquiries, which do more harm than good.

This article was originally published by i24 News.

4 Comments

  • The UN is the world’s largest (and possibly the most profitable) whorehouse – with flags out front.

  • Lillian Tobin

    It behooves us to recall that while we were reeling from the tragedy of 9/11, Palestinians were on their rooftops cheering and celebrating. Nevertheless, I can still have compassion seeing civilians suffering. But how can we correct misperceptions and a constant indoctrination of hatred?

  • Lillian Tobin

    UNRWA exists because of subsidies mostly from well-intentioned countries to be a neutral agency dispensing humanitarian aid where needed. Their involvement in political sides is clearly against their stated duties and illegal. Where did all the concrete go which was shipped to Gaza for the purpose of building housing for the population?? Given the history of the terrorists provoking military confrontations, where are the shelters to protect the people? Surely, they must have observed that Hamas was building this elaborate network of tunnels for illegal purposes! And they said nothing? That makes them complicit! They have NO credibility whatsoever – they are a joke and should be held accountable. There must be a change in personnel or all contributions to them should be cut off. They must be held accountable and in my opinion share in the lack of shelters.

    • I’m not so sure of your observation about “well-intentioned” countries. I think it’s more the case that the leaders (diplomats???) from those “well-intentioned” members of the club are scratching each others’ backs … with little (or no) regard for right vs wrong, or good vs evil.

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Blogs Book Reviews Can ‘Islamic Reformation’ Work? (REVIEW)

    Can ‘Islamic Reformation’ Work? (REVIEW)

    It is cocktail hour on an April afternoon in 2004. The sun is hot on Amsterdam’s canals, and I am sitting at Café den Leeuw on the Herengracht with Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Hirsi Ali is still a member of the Dutch Parliament, and we talk about Islam. Specifically, we talk about the concept of “moderate Islam,” or what she calls “liberal Islam.” And she has one word for it. “It’s absurd,” she says. “It’s complete nonsense. There is no ‘liberal […]

    Read more →
  • Food Jewish Identity A Look at the Vilna Vegetarian Cookbook (REVIEW)

    A Look at the Vilna Vegetarian Cookbook (REVIEW)

    Everybody knows that cooking varies from country to country. There are Italian restaurants, Chinese restaurants, etc. We associate different styles of cuisine with different languages. Do we also think of the association of different cuisines with different dialects? We should, because cooking also varies from region to region. Litvaks and Galitsyaners have their own traditions of preparing gefilte fish. Marvin I. Herzog, in his book The Yiddish Language in Northern Poland: Its Geography and History (Indiana University, Bloomington, and Mouton & Co., The […]

    Read more →
  • Relationships US & Canada Analysis: Jewish Women Less Likely Than Catholics to Take Husband’s Name

    Analysis: Jewish Women Less Likely Than Catholics to Take Husband’s Name

    An analysis of New York Times wedding announcements showed that women married in Jewish ceremonies were less likely to take their husband’s last names than those married in Roman Catholic ceremonies, the Times reported on Saturday. The largest gap between the two groups was in 1995 when 66 percent of Catholic women took their husband’s names and 33 percent of Jewish women did the same. Nearly half of the women featured in the publication’s wedding pages since 1985 took their husband’s name after marriage, while about […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Blogs Jerry Lewis, Legendary Jewish Comic and Humanitarian, Stays Relevant at 89

    Jerry Lewis, Legendary Jewish Comic and Humanitarian, Stays Relevant at 89

    JNS.org – Through appreciation of both his comedy and humanitarian work, legendary Jewish entertainer Jerry Lewis is staying relevant at age 89. The only comic to ever be nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize, Lewis added another award to his trophy case in April, when he received the 2015 Distinguished Service Award from the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB). Gordon Smith, NAB’s president and CEO, said the organization was “honored to recognize not only [Lewis’s] comedic innovation, but also his remarkable […]

    Read more →
  • Europe Sports Israeli Gymnasts Win Bronze, Silver Medals at 2015 European Games in Baku

    Israeli Gymnasts Win Bronze, Silver Medals at 2015 European Games in Baku

    Israeli athletes marked a successful day on Sunday, as gymnasts won multiple bronze and silver medals in the 2015 European Games in Baku. The Gymnastics team won two silver medals and one bronze in group events, while Neta Rivkin, an Israeli Olympic gymnast, won bronze for the Solo Hoops event. Sunday’s gymnastics wins follow Sergey Richter’s bronze on June 16 for the Men’s 10 meter air-rifle, and Ilana Kratysh’s silver for women’s freestyle wrestling. The 2015 European Games in Baku are […]

    Read more →
  • Theater Report Highlights Success of Russian-Jewish-American Ballroom Dancers

    Report Highlights Success of Russian-Jewish-American Ballroom Dancers

    Russian-American Jews are some of the most successful ballroom dancing competitors in the U.S., South Dakota Public Broadcasting (SDPB) Radio reported on Thursday. Jonathan Sarna, a professor of Jewish history at Brandeis University, said their success can be traced back to Jewish discrimination in the former Soviet Union. Because of the prejudice they faced, Russian Jews had to perform better than their peers in every field, including dancing, in order to have a chance of getting ahead. “They knew that if they […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture US & Canada Israeli Dancer With Shofar, Prayer Shawl Wows ‘So You Think You Can Dance’ Judges (VIDEO)

    Israeli Dancer With Shofar, Prayer Shawl Wows ‘So You Think You Can Dance’ Judges (VIDEO)

    An Israeli dancer made use of Jewish props in an extraordinary routine that left judges amazed when he auditioned for season 12 of TV dance competition So You Think You Can Dance on Monday. At first, the panel of judges appeared confused when Asaf Goren, 23, began his audition in Los Angeles with a tallit (prayer shawl) over his head and the blowing of a shofar, which he explained “opens the sky” for people’s prayers. However, as soon as he started his “Hebrew breaking” performance, […]

    Read more →
  • Sports US & Canada Jewish Hoops Fairytale Falls Short as David Blatt’s Cavaliers Drop Game 6

    Jewish Hoops Fairytale Falls Short as David Blatt’s Cavaliers Drop Game 6

    JNS.org – A fairytale ending to Jewish basketball coach David Blatt’s first season in the National Basketball Association (NBA) was not meant to be, as the Blatt-led Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday night dropped Game 6 of the NBA Finals to the Golden State Warriors, 105-97, to lose the best-of-seven series 4-2. Blatt, who just last year coached Israel’s Maccabi Tel Aviv franchise to a European basketball championship, failed to finish a second straight hoops season on top. But after the Cavaliers began the NBA […]

    Read more →