Israel accuses 190 UN staff of being ‘hardened’ militants

Israel accuses 190 UN staff of being ‘hardened’ militants

Jerusalem (Web Desk): An Israeli intelligence dossier that prompted a cascade of countries to halt funds for a UN Palestinian aid agency includes allegations that some staff took part in abductions and killings during the Oct. 7 raid that sparked the Gaza war.

The six-page dossier, alleges that some 190 UNRWA employees, including teachers, have doubled as Hamas or Islamic Jihad fighters. It has names and pictures for 11 them.

The United Nations has not formally received a copy of the dossier, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.

The Palestinians have accused Israel of falsifying information to tarnish UNRWA, which says it has fired some staffers and is investigating the allegations.

The dossier said one of the 11 is a school counsellor who helped his son abduct a woman during the Hamas infiltration in which Israel says 1,200 people were killed and 253 kidnapped.

Foreign Minister Israel Katz said UNRWA head Philippe Lazzarini should go. “UNRWA employees participated in the massacre of October 7,” he said. “Lazzarini should draw conclusions and resign.”

Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh accused Israel of a “premeditated political attack” on the agency, which it has long criticised, and called for restoration of aid funds.

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency was set up for refugees of the 1948 war at Israel's founding in what had been British-ruled Palestine. It also tends to millions of the original refugees' descendants in Palestinian territories and abroad.

Israel has long accused UNRWA of perpetuating conflict by discouraging resettlement of refugees and on occasions in the past has said agency staff took part in armed attacks.

UNRWA denies wrongdoing, describing its role as relief only.