Instead of twelve, over 1,000 of the employees of the Palestinian UN aid agency are said to have connections to Hamas. Israel does not spare criticism as the situation in the region continues to deteriorate – politically and for civilians. That’s the situation.
The scandal surrounding the alleged involvement of some employees of the UN Palestinian Relief Agency in the massacre by the Islamist Hamas in Israel is becoming increasingly widespread. Around ten percent of all 12,000 UNRWA aid workers working in the Gaza Strip have connections to Hamas or Islamist Jihad, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday, citing an Israeli intelligence dossier.
Meanwhile, talks about a possible new ceasefire in the Gaza war and the release of more hostages are expected to continue this week. While Washington has been cautiously optimistic so far, according to Israeli media reports, Hamas said on Monday evening that it would not accept any agreement that did not include an end to the war and the withdrawal of all Israeli troops from Gaza.
Over 1,000 aid workers with Hamas connections
The information in the intelligence reports was based, among other things, on cell phone data, interrogations of captured Hamas fighters and documents seized from killed fighters, the Wall Street Journal reported. It was said that the US government had been informed about the intelligence dossier. Of the 12 UNRWA staff members said to have been involved in the October 7 Hamas attack, seven were primary or secondary school teachers, including two mathematics teachers, two Arabic teachers and one primary school teacher, the newspaper reported.
The allegations against the employees for their alleged involvement in the Hamas massacre caused outrage around the world. In response, numerous countries temporarily stopped their payments to the aid organization, including Germany, the USA, Great Britain and France. “UNRWA’s problem is not just ‘a few bad apples’ involved in the October 7 massacre,” a senior Israeli government official was quoted as saying. “The institution as a whole is a haven for Hamas’ radical ideology.”
No more financial aid for the UN Palestinian Relief Agency
Israel is calling for comprehensive reform of the Palestinian aid organization. “UNRWA has been in cahoots with the terrorists for a long time,” said Israel’s ambassador to Germany, Ron Prosor, to the “Tagesspiegel” (Tuesday). The attackers of the Munich Olympic massacre in 1972 were already graduates of UNRWA schools. “And so it is not surprising that UNRWA employees were also involved in the kidnappings on October 7th.”
In response to the allegations against twelve UN employees, numerous countries temporarily stopped their payments to the aid organization, including Germany, the USA, Great Britain and France. Israel welcomed the fact that funding for UNRWA was now being withheld “on a large scale”. But that could only be the beginning. “Anyone who wants peace must now work for complete information. The way UNRWA is now, it cannot make a contribution to peace.”
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken again called for a quick clarification. The aid agency plays an “absolutely indispensable role in ensuring that the men, women and children who so urgently need help in Gaza actually receive it,” Blinken said on Monday in Washington.
Report: Israeli army wants to prevent repopulation of Gaza
According to a media report, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Galant assured the US that he and the military would prevent Israelis from repopulating the Gaza Strip. As the news portal “Axios” reported on Monday, citing four US and Israeli officials, Galant said in discussions with US officials last week that a planned buffer zone in the Gaza Strip would be temporary in nature and only serve security purposes. The reconstruction of outposts or settlements by Israeli settlers will not be allowed.
Ministers from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing conservative ruling party Likud were also represented at a settler-friendly conference in Jerusalem on Sunday evening. However, Netanyahu himself had described plans to repopulate the Gaza Strip after the war as unrealistic. In addition to a return of Israeli settlers to the coastal strip, the right-wing extremist Police Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir also called for an exodus of Palestinians. Only this could prevent another massacre like the one on October 7th, he argued.
In 2005, Israel withdrew from Gaza and evacuated more than 20 Israeli settlements. In 2007, the Islamist Hamas seized sole control of the coastal area after a bloody battle with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah organization. Around 2.2 million Palestinians live there.
USA cautiously optimistic about Gaza war
Meanwhile, the USA was cautiously optimistic about a possible new ceasefire in the Gaza war and the release of more hostages. “We can’t talk about an impending agreement yet, but based on the discussions we had over the weekend and in the last few days, we feel that it is moving in a good direction,” said the National Security Council communications director , John Kirby, on Monday in Washington.
At the weekend, representatives of the USA, Israel, Egypt and Qatar discussed a new ceasefire in Paris. Good progress has been made to at least lay the foundation for a path forward, Qatari Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani told US broadcaster MSNBC.
Before the consultations, there was a clear demand for a permanent ceasefire – this possibility exists, said Al Thani. According to the Times of Israel, Hamas insisted in a joint statement with the terrorist group Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) on Monday evening that Israel must end its “aggression” and withdraw from Gaza before an agreement can be reached. According to estimates, just over 130 people are still in the hands of the Islamists.
Israel: At least a quarter of Hamas eliminated
According to Israeli reports, at least half of Hamas fighters have now been killed or wounded. “We have already eliminated at least a quarter of Hamas terrorists, and there are a similar number of wounded terrorists,” Defense Minister Joav Galant said on Monday. His information cannot currently be independently verified. As the news portal Axios reported on Monday, citing four US and Israeli officials, Galant assured the US government that he and the military would prevent Israelis from repopulating Gaza. A planned buffer zone in the area will be temporary in nature and only serve security purposes.
Blinken: The situation in the Middle East is more dangerous than it has been for a long time
According to US Secretary of State Blinken, the situation in the Middle East is more dangerous than it has been for a long time. “I maintain that we have not experienced a situation as dangerous as this in the entire region since at least 1973 – perhaps even before that,” Blinken said on Monday in Washington at a joint press conference with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. With the year he was probably referring to the Yom Kippur War, which began on October 6, 1973, when an alliance of Arab states led by Egypt and Syria unexpectedly attacked Israel. At that time, more than 2,600 Israeli soldiers were killed and more than 7,000 were injured.
I have been working in the news industry for over 6 years, first as a reporter and now as an editor. I have covered politics extensively, and my work has appeared in major newspapers and online news outlets around the world. In addition to my writing, I also contribute regularly to 24 Hours World.