TEL AVIV, Israel — An Israeli doc obtained Monday spelled out allegations in opposition to a dozen U.N. workers the nation says participated in Hamas’ Oct. 7 assault — claiming seven stormed into Israeli territory, together with two who participated in kidnappings.
The allegations in opposition to staffers with the U.N. company for Palestinian refugees prompted Western nations to freeze funds important for the physique, which is a lifeline for determined Palestinians in Gaza. The U.N. fired 9 of the 12 accused employees and condemned “the abhorrent alleged acts” of employees members.
The accusations come after years of tensions between Israel and the company often known as UNRWA over its work in Gaza, the place it employs roughly 13,000 folks.
Regardless of the humanitarian disaster unfolding within the besieged territory — the place Israel’s warfare in opposition to Hamas has displaced the overwhelming majority of the inhabitants and officers say 1 / 4 of Palestinians are ravenous — main donors, together with the U.S. and Britain, have lower funding. On Monday, Japan and Austria joined them in pausing help.
With the vast majority of its price range doubtful, UNRWA says will probably be compelled to halt operations inside weeks if funding is not restored.
The menace to the U.N. company got here as Israel stated cease-fire talks held Sunday had been constructive however that “important gaps” remained in any potential settlement. The talks are supposed to result in some respite to war-torn Gaza and safe the discharge of greater than 100 hostages nonetheless held within the territory.
Preventing continued, additional complicating help to war-weary folks in Gaza. Israel issued an evacuation order to residents within the western a part of Gaza Metropolis, urging them to go south. The order indicated that battles are nonetheless being waged in northern Gaza, an space Israel pummeled within the first weeks of the warfare and the place it had beforehand stated it held army management.
The warfare was sparked with Hamas’ Oct. 7 assault which killed 1,200 folks, principally civilians, and noticed some 250 folks taken captive, in keeping with Israeli authorities.
The assault set off an intense air, sea and floor offensive that has killed greater than 26,000 Palestinians, most of them girls and minors, in keeping with the Well being Ministry in Hamas-ruled Gaza. The ministry doesn’t distinguish between civilians and combatants in its depend.
The warfare has additionally threatened to set off a wider regional battle, with the U.S. asserting three of its troops killed in a strike blamed on Iran-backed militias in Jordan.
The Israeli doc, which has been shared with U.S. officers and was obtained by The Related Press, lists 12 folks, their alleged roles within the assault, job descriptions and photographs.
The doc stated intelligence gathered confirmed that at the least 190 UNRWA employees had been Hamas or Islamic Jihad operatives, with out offering proof.
It stated of the 12 employees, 9 had been academics and one a social employee. Seven of the workers had been accused of crossing into Israel on Oct. 7. Of these, two had been alleged to have kidnapped or assisted within the abduction of Israelis and one other two had been stated to have participated in raids on communal farming villages, in keeping with the doc.
One was accused of arming himself with an anti-tank missile the night time earlier than the assault, whereas the doc claimed one other took photographs of a feminine hostage.
Some had been accused of “collaborating in a terror exercise” or coordinating the motion of vans or weapons used within the assault. Ten had been listed as having ties to Hamas and one to the Islamic Jihad militant group.
The names and photographs of the accused employees couldn’t instantly be verified.
Two of the 12 have been killed, in keeping with the doc. The U.N. beforehand stated one was nonetheless being recognized.
The allegations have stoked longstanding tensions between Israel and UNRWA. Israel says Hamas makes use of the company’s services to retailer weapons or launch assaults from. UNRWA says it doesn’t knowingly tolerate such habits and has inner safeguards to stop abuses and self-discipline any wrongdoing.
The company’s commissioner, Philippe Lazzarini, not too long ago introduced that he was ordering an exterior evaluation of the company’s operations and its safeguards.
Israel has lengthy been important of the company and accuses it of serving to to perpetuate the 76-year-old Palestinian refugee disaster. UNRWA says it cares for the huge wants of tens of millions of Palestinians throughout the Center East which were sharply exacerbated by the most recent warfare.
The U.N. says the whole company shouldn’t be penalized by the alleged actions of the dozen employees, who it says might be held accountable if true. It has referred to as for the donors to renew funding.
The US, the company’s largest donor, lower funding over the weekend, adopted by a number of different nations. Collectively, they offered greater than 60% of UNRWA’s price range in 2022.
UNRWA supplies primary providers for Palestinian households who fled or had been pushed out of what’s now Israel in the course of the 1948 warfare surrounding the nation’s creation. The refugees and their descendants are the vast majority of Gaza’s inhabitants.
Because the warfare started, a lot of the territory’s 2.3 million folks rely upon the company’s packages for “sheer survival,” together with meals and shelter, Lazzarini stated.
1 / 4 of Gaza’s inhabitants is going through hunger as preventing and Israeli restrictions hinder the supply of assist, which has been properly beneath the day by day common of 500 vans earlier than the warfare.
Communications Director Juliette Touma warned that the company can be compelled to cease its help in Gaza by the top of February.
Jobain reported from Rafah, Gaza Strip, and Jeffery from London.
Comply with AP’s protection of the Israel-Hamas warfare at https://apnews.com/hub/israel-hamas-war