According to Yoni Fighel, a former Israeli military governor in the Palestinian territories, UNRWA workers are permitted to openly affiliate with terrorist groups. He notes that, “as long as UNRWA employees are members of Fatah, Hamas, or PFLP [Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine], they are going to pursue the interests of their party within the framework of their job…Who’s going to check up on them to see that they don’t? UNRWA? They are UNRWA.”
In other words, UNRWA sees Hamas and other terrorist groups as part of the Palestinian landscape, and therefore embraces these groups.Since many UNRWA teachers are alumni of the UNRWA school system, they often perpetuate the vitriolic curriculum they were taught, vilifying Israel and the West. For example, Suheil al-Hindi, an UNRWA teachers’ representative, openly applauded suicide bombings at a school in the Jabaliya refugee camp in Gaza in 2003. Instead of a condemnation, al-Hindi received a promotion and was subsequently elected to UNRWA’s clerks union.UNRWA teachers who publicly identify with radical groups have created a teachers’ bloc that ensures the election of Hamas members and other individuals committed to Islamist ideologies. After using their classrooms as a place to refine their radical messages, these teachers gravitate to politics. As such, UNRWA’s education system has become a springboard for Hamas leaders.For example, Said Sayyam, the Hamas minister of interior and civil affairs, was a teacher in UNRWA schools in Gaza from 1980 to 2003. He went on to become a member of UNRWA’s Arab Employees Union, and headed the teachers sector committee.Notable graduates of the UNRWA school system include former Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, and Abd al-Aziz Rantisi, the former Hamas chief who attended UNRWA secondary school in Khan Younis and graduated top of his class.UNRWA institutions have not just produced terrorist ideologues. They have also produced terrorist masterminds. According to Dore Gold, former Israeli ambassador to the United Nations, UNWRA has produced graduates like Ibrahim Maqadama, who “helped create the military structure of Hamas.” Gold notes that, “at least 46 terrorist operatives were students in the UNRWA schools.”There have also been widespread reports of terrorism from UNRWA-supervised facilities, including sniper attacks from UNRWA-run schools, bomb and arms factories in UNRWA camps, the transport of terrorists to their target zones in UNRWA ambulances, and even UNRWA employees directly tied to terrorist attacks against civilians.Nidal Abd al-Fattah Abdallah Nazzal, an ambulance driver for UNRWA from Kalqiliya in the West Bank, was arrested by Israeli security services in August 2002. Nidal admitted that he was a Hamas activist and that he had transported weapons and explosives to terrorists in his ambulance, taking advantage of the freedom of movement afforded to UNRWA vehicles by the Israelis.Nahd Rashid Ahmad Atallah, a senior official of UNRWA in the Gaza Strip, was also arrested by Israeli security in August 2002. In his capacity as an UNRWA official, he provided support to families of wanted Fatah and PFLP terrorists. He used his UNRWA car to transport armed members of the “Popular Resistance Committees,” a militant faction of the Fatah movement, to carry out attacks against Israeli troops at the Karni Crossing.UNRWA also appears to be in the business of cultivating new terrorists. The New York Times exposed in 2000 that UNRWA allowed terrorist groups to use their schools as “summer camps” so that 25,000 Palestinian children could receive paramilitary training, including instructions on how to prepare Molotov cocktails and roadside bombs.
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