Once again this summer, Hamas operates military preparation summer camps for 250,000 teenagers who attend UNRWA schools during the school year.
Working with an Israeli-Palestinian team of journalists over the past few years, I run a news agency that documents and films how UNRWA allocates cash from donor nations to conduct military training for children in the UNRWA classroom along with weapons training camps which Hamas organizes for UNRWA children.
Al-Kutla al-Islamiya, a division of Hamas, runs military activities, which attract UNRWA’s younger students, paving the way for recruitment in al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas.
UNRWA “education” teaches children how to fight, shoot lethal weapons, use hand grenades, and climb through various spaces all in preparation for war.
After exposure to al-Kutla, elementary and middle schoolers join a week long war games program, held in a military campment, where they study “jihad, determination, to trust Allah and other Islamic values” in addition to military tactics.
In other words, a UN agency OPENLY violates the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child, which states “children… should not be forced or recruited to take part in a war or join the armed forces”.
Binding legislation passed by the US Congress requires UNRWA to vet personnel to see determine if there are terrorists on their payroll is ignored.
Yet the US has never insisted that that UNRWA vet its personnel:
UNRWA therefore remains in violation of US penal code § 2339B – providing material support or resources to a designated FTO.
On the record, the Hamas Minister of Religion told us on camera “Hamas’ relationship with UNRWA is good, very good! We assist UNRWA and Hamas cooperates with UNRWA on many levels. Now a direct connection exists between UNRWA and Hamas.”
(Click at 5:34 at “Children’s Army of Hamas” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iO4UKXmr8zk )
Now, the US Congress has directed the General Accounting Office, the GAO, to determine if UNRWA is indeed engaged in cooperation with act of terrorism and terror incitement. .
Senator James Risch (R-Idaho), chairman of the US Senate Near East Subcommittee of the US Foreign Relations Committee, disclosed to me that his office o made an official request in June of the GAO, the US General Accounting office, for an investigation of the alleged involvement of terror groups with UNRWA education..
All this will provide background material for the newly formed Knesset Lobby for UNRWA Reform, which was convened at the Knesset on July 19, just before the UNRWA summer recess, and which will reconvene in late October,, when the US GAO report on UNRWA terror involvement will be released
Knesset Member Avi Dichter, former head of ISA, the Israeli Security Agency, who now chairs the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Security Committee, points an unusually harsh finger at UNRWA, warning from the rostrum of Israel’s Knesset Parliament that “almost 100 percent” of UNRWA workers in Gaza are active in the Hamas terrorist organization.”
David Bedein is the director of Israel Resource News Agency and also administers the Center for Near East Policy Research. He is also the author of “Roadblock to Peace – How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict: UNRWA Policies Reconsidered” and “The Genesis of the Palestinian Authority.” His website is www.israelbehindthenews.com.