Hamas threatens UNRWA

Hamas outraged over UNRWA decision not to pay workers' salaries, warns against harm to "Palestinian refugees".

Dalit Halevi ,


Hamas on Wednesday blasted the decision of UNRWA, the UN agency for “Palestinian refugees”, to pay only part of the salaries of UNRWA workers in the Gaza Strip in November and December.

In a statement, Hamas claimed that the financial crisis at UNRWA is artificial and stemmed from "political reasons aimed at removing the refugee problem and eliminating UNRWA. The financial problem must not come at the expense of the refugees and the services provided to them."

Hamas also warned that any harm to refugees would have serious consequences for stability and security in the region.

The organization, which rules Gaza, noted that "the refugee problem is at the heart of the conflict and no pressure should be allowed, but rather action should be taken to return the refugees to the homes from which they were expelled and to ensure compensation for them."

UNRWA said on Monday it lacks the funds to pay full November salaries but is confident US President-elect Joe Biden's administration will restore support.

Created in 1949, UNRWA supplies aid to more than three million of the five million registered “Palestinian refugees” in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and territories assigned to the Palestinian Authority.

The US, which was previously UNRWA's largest contributor, cut a full $300 million in funding to the agency in 2018, leaving it strapped for cash and asking other countries to help fill the gap.

UNRWA is also notorious for its anti-Israel activities. During the 2014 counterterrorism Operation Protective Edge, Hamas rockets were discovered inside a school building run by UNRWA.

Likewise, a booby-trapped UNRWA clinic was detonated, killing three IDF soldiers. Aside from the massive amounts of explosives hidden in the walls of the clinic, it was revealed that it stood on top of dozens of terror tunnels, showing how UNRWA is closely embedded with Hamas.