Guardian ignores info undermining UNRWA ‘few bad apples’ narrative

On Jan. 26, news broke that UNRWA – the UN ‘refugee’ agency which provides aid to millions of Palestinians who aren’t refugeessacked 12 of their employees after they received information showing they had participated in Hamas’s Oct. 7th massacre. Two helped kidnap Israelis, while two others were tracked to sites where scores of Israeli civilians were murdered. Others coordinated logistics for the assault, including procuring weapons.

Some commented on the news by arguing that this was just the tip of the iceberg, and that more information would emerge to back up the evidence compiled by groups like UN Watch over the years to show that UNRWA’s ties to terror went far beyond the ‘few bad apples‘ (as the org’s defenders called it) who were fired.  The Geneva-based NGO has, for example, demonstrated over the years that the UN agency’s schools consistently promote antisemitism and glorify jihad.  Further, just three weeks ago, the group revealed that a Telegram channel consisting of 3,000 UNRWA teachers in Gaza was filled with posts expressing support for the Hamas massacre.

Those who knew there was more to the story than merely the actions of 12 employees would soon be vindicated.

On Jan. 29, three days after original news broke of the UNRWA employees’ Oct. 7 participation, the Wall Street Journal published a piece based on their reporters’ review of the actual intel that Israel shared with the US and other countries showing that around 12,000 employees (10% of its Gaza staff) have ties to Hamas or Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

Here are some excerpts from the WSJ expose:

Two officials familiar with the intelligence said the Unrwa employees considered to have ties with militant groups were deemed to be “operatives,” indicating they took active part in the organization’s military or political framework.

The report said 23% of Unrwa’s male employees had ties to Hamas, a higher percentage than the average of 15% for adult males in Gaza, indicating a higher politicization of the agency than the population at large.

Nearly half of all Unrwa employees—an estimated 49%—also had close relatives who also had official ties to the militant groups, especially Hamas, the intelligence reports said.

Since Oct. 7, Hamas has stolen more than $1 million worth of Unrwa supplies, including fuel and trucks, according to the intelligence report…Hamas operatives are so deeply enmeshed within the Unrwa aid-delivery enterprise as to coordinate transfers for the organization.

Since then, 18 countries – the UK, US, EU, Germany, Sweden, Japan, France, Switzerland, Canada, The Netherlands, Australia, Austria, Italy, Finland, New Zealand, Iceland, Romania and Estonia – suspended their UNRWA funding.

Here’s Hillel Neuer, director of UN Watch, testifying before the US Congress about UNRWA’s ties to terror and how they serve as an impediment to peace.

While the Guardian, which has long championed UNRWA, reported the initial story about the twelve employees, they’ve thus far completely ignored the WSJ report showing that the organisation’s terror ties are widespread and systemic. In fact, just today, the outlet published an op-ed about the UNRWA row pushing the ‘few bad apples’ line without acknowledging the WSJ’s revelations.

In 2015, the Guardian’s then Jerusalem correspondent Peter Beaumont published a report hailing UNRWA as one the top five UN agencies.

Beaumont devoted only one sentence to criticism of the the group by those he described as “Israeli political figures and pro-Israeli commentators”, which, he noted, included questions about the group’s neutrality – a charge which he dismissed.  So, it’s not at all surprising that the outlet would go out of its way to play-down and even suppress the increasing revelations about the corruption of the ‘refugee’ agency, as it contradicts the narrative they’ve been pushing for years, and vindicates criticism of ‘pro-Israeli’ groups they so despise.

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