U.S. Intel Report Examines Israeli Claims of UNRWA Staff Ties to Hamas

By Yoni Weiss

Israeli soldiers operate next to the UNRWA headquarters in the Gaza Strip, Feb. 8. (REUTERS/Dylan Martinez)

A U.S. intelligence report, obtained by the Wall Street Journal, presents varying levels of credibility regarding Israeli allegations of United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) staff involvement in Hamas terror activities. The report, completed last week, suggests that while some UNRWA employees may have participated in Hamas’s Oct. 7 terror assault on Israel, the U.S. cannot independently verify broader assertions of UNRWA staff having links to terror groups.

The suspension of funding for UNRWA by the U.S. and other Western nations last month, following Israel’s presentation of evidence connecting at least 12 UNRWA employees to the Hamas attack that triggered the current war, has raised uncertainties about the agency’s future.

Israeli intelligence claims approximately 10% of UNRWA workers in Gaza have affiliations, often political, with Hamas. However, the number directly linked to the militant wings of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad is reported to be smaller.

The U.S. intelligence assessment acknowledges the plausibility of some UNRWA staff members’ involvement in the Oct. 7 attack but offers a more cautious evaluation compared to public statements by U.S. and Israeli officials. Secretary of State Antony Blinken described Israel’s claims as “highly credible,” emphasizing UNRWA’s humanitarian role. The report, however, highlights the U.S.’s inability to independently verify the allegations due to limited access to Israeli intelligence.

The report also underscores Israel’s historical antagonism toward UNRWA, suggesting a potential bias that could impact assessments of the agency. In response to the allegations, UNRWA promptly terminated the employees implicated in the attack and initiated its own investigation. UNRWA officials question the methodology behind Israel’s claims and the accuracy of the provided data.

While Israel intensifies accusations of widespread Hamas infiltration within UNRWA, the agency asserts its commitment to neutrality and humanitarian principles.

To Read The Full Story

Are you already a subscriber?
Click to log in!