Opinion: U.N. Must Stop Enabling Hamas War Crimes

The recent airstrike in Jabaliya, Gaza, killed Ibraim Biari, a senior Hamas terrorist who played a direct role in the October 7 massacres.

The battalion of terrorists had commandeered buildings in an area controlled by the United Nations (U.N.) and built tunnels under the neighborhood that collapsed during the strikes. However, experts at the U.N. blasted Israel for the strike on a legitimate terror target that Hamas chose to defend using human shields.

Congress should respond to the U.N.’s stance by cutting off all funding for U.N. agencies that have ignored how their Gaza work benefits Hamas.

Of course, Hamas has a history of embedding its terror assets in U.N. areas. Members of the U.N. are likely beneficiaries of assistance from the U.N. This is due to the United Nations’ lack of recognition of Hamas as a terrorist organization. 

Jabaliya is in the area where the IDF has repeatedly advised Gaza citizens to evacuate for their safety. Although hundreds of thousands followed advice from the IDF, Hamas prevented many civilians from fleeing to use them as human shields. The use of human shields is a war crime.

Despite the use of civilians by Hamas as human shields, the U.N. Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in Gaza, along with the World Health Organization, have directed their criticism toward Israel, accusing Israel of committing war crimes and a “brazen violation of international law.”

However, photos of Jabaliya demonstrate it is not a tent camp but a city. A refugee is typically used for an individual who has personally fled from conflict. However, the U.N. applies a unique definition to Palestinians and defines any descendant of people displaced in the 1947-1949 Israeli War of Independence as a refugee. According to the U.N., a Palestinian child born today with parents and grandparents who were born in Gaza is considered a refugee.

In early 2021, Mike Pompeo, former Secretary of State, revealed fewer than 5% of the over five million people described by UNRWA as “refugees” meet the international definition of a refugee. That means the vast majority of people were born in Gaza and haven’t ever been displaced.

Today, UNRWA is a welfare agency that brands the Palestinian population as “refugees” for political purposes. First, it keeps donations flowing from governments in the West. The effect of this continuing belief is that it feeds Hamas’ hopes that one day, the state of Israel will be destroyed, with millions of people taking over Jewish homes.

In Gaza, UNRWA subsidizes Hamas by delivering essential services, allowing Hamas to spend additional money on terrorism instead. In the meantime, UNRWA schools are known to indoctrinate Palestinian children with antisemitism — the same hatred that fueled the massacre on October 7.

UNRWA contractors, staff, and beneficiaries are not subject to vetting by U.S. counterterrorism because conducting the vetting would expose the extent to which U.N. money flows into Hamas’ coffers.

Hamas would establish a terror base of operations inside one of UNRWA’s so-called refugee camps, which is not new.

In Gaza, Hamas uses UNRWA schools to build tunnels and launch rockets. In the West Bank, the Jenin UNRWA “refugee camp” has been a terrorism hotbed. UNRWA’s Ain al Hilweh “refugee camp” in Lebanon is the center of a months-long battle between terrorist groups.

Where does that leave the United States policy as the UNRWA-Hamas propaganda machine educates children to commit genocide and provides cover for military assets while accusing Israel of war crimes?

President Joe Biden resumed unconditionally funding UNRWA after President Trump cut it in 2018. Congress can defend the taxpayer dollar integrity and avoid subsidizing war crimes committed by Hamas by pausing aid to UNRWA until it complies with three basic requirements.

First, contractors, UNRWA employees, and beneficiaries must be subject to terror checks. Hamas members — a terror organization as designated by the U.S. — should be precluded from employment by agencies funded by the U.S.

UNRWA must complete an immediate overhaul of its educational materials to eliminate incitement against Israel and antisemitism, instead including a U.S.-supervised curriculum that promotes tolerance.

The UNRWA must also halt its policy of applying the word “refugee” to Palestinians born after 1949.

Although individuals may not be entitled to receive services and goods from welfare agencies, they cannot be allowed to continue raising children with the push to destroy Israel.

If UNRWA fails to reform critically, it will continue to cultivate new generations of Hamas sympathizers and terrorists and fuel the bloody conflict — with U.S. tax dollars as its sponsor.