Some 12,000 Gaza residents employed by UNRWA, representing 10% of the total staff, were affiliated to the Islamist terror factions in Gaza, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal, based on what an intelligence official described as very sensitive signals intelligence as well as cellphone tracking data, interrogations of captured Hamas fighters and documents recovered from dead militants, among other things.
Meanwhile Japan, Austria and Romania joined other nations on Monday announcing they were suspending funds to the organization.
The German Foreign Ministry said in a statement that UNRWA was not the only source of humanitarian aid for Palestinians, after the government in Berlin also suspended its funding.
In a document seen by the paper, officials said half of all UNRWA employees in Gaza have members of their families in the terror groups.
"The institution as a whole is a refuge for radical ideologs, a senior Israeli official said. "These are not just some bad apples who took part in the atrocities."
"Two officials familiar with the intelligence said the UNRWA employees considered to have ties with militant groups were deemed to be “operatives,” indicating they took active part in the organization’s military or political framework," The paper wrote. "The report said 23% of UNRWA’s male employees had ties to Hamas, a higher percentage than the average of 15% for adult males in Gaza, indicating a higher politicization of the agency than the population at large."
A report in the New York Times said an UNRWA staff member was accused of abducting a woman, another with assisting in abducting the body of a soldier and of handing out ammunition, a third participated in the massacre in Kibbutz Be'eri where 97 people were murdered. based on the intelligence provided by Israel to the U.S. on the complicity of 12 Palestinian UNRWA workers in the atrocities committed by Hamas on October 7. According to the report, 10 of the organization's staff were Hamas operatives and one was a member of the Islamic Jihad.
A document presented to American officials shows how military intelligence identified six of the UN agency's staff members inside Israel during the Hamas atrocities committed on October 7, based on their cellphone locations.
Accusations against others are based among other things on phone conversations intercepted inside Gaza, where they discussed their involvement in the massacre.
Three others, who in addition to their positions in UNRWA, were members of the military wing of Hamas, received instructions in text messages to report to specific locations where terrorists were to meet, and one was instructed to bring with him anti-tank missiles stored in his home.
The document in the possession of American intelligence agencies also states that of the dozen identified, 10 were active Hamas operatives and one was a member of the Islamic Jihad. Seven of the UNRWA workers were employed as math and Arabic teachers in the agency's schools, two others also worked in the schools but not in teaching positions and the three remaining, were a clerk, a social worker and the manager of the school's storage, whom the New York Times tracked down using social media.
The document details the scope of the actions of some UNRWA staff. One, who was a guidance councilor in a Khan Younis school, is suspected along with his son, of abducting a woman from Israel. The social worker identified, assisted in the abduction of the body of an IDF soldier, handed out ammunition to the terrorists and coordinated traffic inside Israel during the massacre.
Two Western officials were able to verify the intelligence. Although the U.S. has not yet confirmed the Israeli claims, American officials said they were credible enough to announce that funding to UNRWA was suspended.
UNRWA oversees 59 Palestinian refugee camps in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Jerusalem the West Bank and Gaza. Most of the organization's funds are directed to running its schools. Its annual budget stands at over a billion dollars, 90% of which comes from countries that have now suspended their contributions. Japan and Austria, on Monday also announced it is suspending its funding to UNRWA.
The U.S. is the largest funder of the UN organization, by some 344 million dollars in 2022, followed by Germany providing 202 million dollars and the EU providing 114 million dollars. The EU said in the past that it would reduce funding due to the incitement against Israel in the UNRWA text books.
Australia, the UK, Canada and Finland combined, supported UNRWA with funds totaling 66 million dollars.