U.S. House of Representatives
Tuesday, January 30, 2024
The Subcommi,ee on Oversight and Accountability and Subcommi,ee on Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations
Subject: “UNRWA Exposed: Examining the Agency’s Mission and Failures”
Dear Distinguished Subcommi,ee Members,
I would like to take this opportunity to submit a statement on behalf of the Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC), a leading Jewish Global Human Rights Activist Organization. As a pediatrician with over three decades of clinical experience caring for children and young adults, the SWC’s first Children’s Advocate, and proud ci8zen of the State of New Jersey, as Chairman Chris Smith is aware, I was one of the first to have called out UNRWA for child abuse due to their educa8on that encourages young impressionable Pales8nian students to commit violent acts against Jews and encourages them to become martyrs. UNRWA has proven to be not only an Instrument of hate used by Hamas against Jews and Israel. It is also an instrument of hate against the civilized global community!
The 8me has come for all to realize that the United Na8ons Relief and Works Agency’s (UNRWA’s) mandate to provide services to now 5.9 million Palestinian “refugees” descended from the original 700,000
refugees of 1948 must come to an end. There is ample proof now that the barbaric terrorists of Hamas have co-opted UNRWA so that they are one and the same. Our US tax dollars should not be used to fund terrorist organizations that are the sworn enemy of the principles we hold dear: respect for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Yet, in the West’s a,empt to assist the Palestinian people, that is exactly what we have been doing. If we want to help create the foundation for a peaceful and hopeful future for Israeli and Palestinian children, UNRWA must not be a part of that future.
UNRWA cleverly perpetuates the conflict that began following Israel’s War of Independence in 1948. It has done so successfully by uniquely bestowing refugee status on Pales8nians in perpetuity, by keeping the Palestinian people in overcrowded refugee camps for generations, by indoctrinating generation after generation of Palestinian children in a
belief that they are entitled to return to towns and villages of their ancestors that no longer exist in order to overtake Israel by sheer numbers if not by a violent overthrow, and by using the generous humanitarian aid provided over the years by Western Democracies to feather the nest of their terror state. Ironically, it is the very principles of Western civilization-personal and religious freedoms, tolerance, free elec8ons-that Hamas and likeminded terrorists seek to destroy.
The SWC has for years been providing evidence to a high up official in the office of the Secretary General of the United Na8ons of UNRWA’s blatant indoctrination of generations of Palestinian school children with the purpose of radicalizing impressionable minds to commit jihad and sacrifice their young lives in support of a radical genocidal Islamic ideology that has co-opted this UN organization. For nearly a decade I have made the claim that this cons8tutes “societal child abuse.” We warned that the curriculum they were subjected to in UNRWA schools was a war curriculum.
Tragically, our fears were played out on October 7, 2023. It is no surprise that many of the perpetrators of Hamas atrocities had been indoctrinated in UNRWA schools. Rabbi Abraham Cooper, The Associate Dean and Director of Global Social Ac8on for the SWC and the current chair of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, just a few weeks ago spoke directly with Secretary of State Blinken about what should be done about UNRWA going forward.
UNRWA is one of the largest employers of Gazans, second only to Hamas itself. “According to Kobi Michael, a senior researcher at Tel Aviv’s Institute for National Security Studies (INSS), “All the workers of UNRWA in the Gaza Strip—something like 13,000—all of them are approved by Hamas.”” h,ps://www.jns.org/terrorists-deeply embedded-within-unrwa-staff/ Moreover, UNRWA is mandated in its charter to implement the policies of the local government, which in the case of Gaza is Hamas. Thus, UNRWA serves at the pleasure of this extremist Islamist terror organization.
Now it is 8me to acknowledge reality. In Gaza, UNRWA is Hamas and Hamas is UNRWA. Since Oct. 7, we have the proof. UNRWA employees are either members of Hamas or are family and friends of Hamas members as these are coveted jobs. UNRWA schools, hospitals, medical clinics, and facilities are part of the Hamas terror infrastructure. UNRWA employees participated in Hamas atrocities. UNRWA aid meant for civilians is under the control of Hamas terrorists and either stolen by these terrorists or sold for profit to the suffering Palestinian people. Just exposed by UN-Watch, three thousand UNRWA employees celebrated the murder of Jews on Oct. 7 on Telegram.
It is appalling that UNRWA employees participated in perpetrating the most unspeakable crimes against the Jewish people since the
Holocaust. En8re families living on peaceful kibbutzim butchered in their beds, babies decapitated, young girls and women gang raped, and their bodies mu8lated, people burned alive beyond recogni8on, hundreds of young people slaughtered at a music fes8val, Israelis and foreigners alike from infants to octogenarians taken hostage, tortured and abused in the most brutal condi8ons to this day, day 116 of hell.
Hamas is not only the sworn enemy of Israel. Their jihad starts with Israel but does not end with Israel. MEMRI did a report demonstrating this using Hamas’s own words:
“Hamas – the acronym for the movement’s full name, the Islamic Resistance Movement, in Arabic – is a Sunni Islamist terror organization that is part of the Muslim Brotherhood. Its goal is the establishment of an independent Palestinian state in all of Palestine, “from the river to the sea,” by means of uncompromising jihad. This campaign is regarded as part of the Muslims’ ongoing jihad against the Jews that will continue until the Judgement Day and will end with the annihilation of the Jews…
Hamas also defines itself as part of the Islamic resistance movement whose ultimate goal is the establishment of a worldwide Islamic caliphate…
–The liberation of Palestine is a prelude to the establishment of a global Islamic caliphate. Rome will be conquered by Islam as Constantinople was once conquered, and then the rest of the world will be overtaken, including America and Eastern Europe.” https://www.memri.org/reports/ideology-hamas-–- its-own-words
Israel’s Foreign Minister Israel Katz this past weekend stated that Israel demands the leadership of UNRWA be dismissed, and in Gaza’s rebuilding, be replaced with agencies dedicated to genuine peace and development .https://www.jpost.com/breaking-news/article-783945
We at SWC agree. UNRWA must be dissolved. Not one more cent of United States Tax Dollars should be given to this terror enabling UN agency. Third and fourth generation Palestinians must wake up to the harsh reality that they are not refugees, and instead should be given the
tools to make a better life for themselves and their families, not at the expense of their Israeli neighbors who too deserve a better future. Assistance to Palestinians going forward must be provided by humanitarian organizations that will work to improve conditions on the ground for Palestinians rather than using the billions of dollars given to them over the years to build a terror state. Their children must be educated in schools dedicated to tolerance and peaceful coexistence with their Israeli neighbors, their schools must be rid of teachers supportive of terrorist organizations, and the current curriculum must be replaced with one that does not indoctrinate children into a culture of jihad and martyrdom such as used in the UAE.
We make these recommendations not only for the sake of future generations of Israeli and Palestinian children, but for the prevention of this hateful ideology spreading to our own shores.
Deborah Soffen MD
Simon Wiesenthal Center