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UNRWA’s close interaction with terrorist organisation Hamas

by Paul van Buitenen (Verts/ALE)
to the Commission

During the recent military operation ‘Cast Lead’ by Israel in Gaza, the Hamas terrorist organisation used UNRWA compounds such as schools to attack Israeli forces and civilian targets and to store weapons and ammunition. UNRWA has over 25 000 Palestinian Arabs on its payroll. In the Gaza strip, which is controlled by Hamas, UNRWA is running 200 schools. In 2004, (now former) UNRWA director Peter Hansen was quoted in an interview with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in which he mentioned that it was quite possible that members of the terrorist organisation Hamas were on the UNRWA payroll.

  • —As the EU is UNRWA’s main sponsor, what has the Commission done to ensure that none of the employees of UNRWA are affiliated with a terrorist organisation? Has there been an official investigation to check the claims of Mr Hansen? If so what are its findings?
  • —Can the Commission exclude the possibility that members of a terrorist organisation are currently being employed by UNRWA?

Has the Commission taken note of the article ‘UNRWA Schools in Gaza infiltrated by Palestinian terrorists’ written by Jerusalem Centre for Public Affairs researcher Jonathan Halevi, as appeared on 22 January 2009 in the Hebrew version of http://www.ynetnews.com, in which the following is stated?

  • —Suhil el-Hindi won the UNRWA workers committee elections held on 14 June 2006. Suhel el-Hindi is the head of the teachers sector at UNRWA schools and openly identifies himself as a Hamas representative. He controls the curriculum in UNRWA schools, the employment of teachers in those schools, and the summer camps.
  • —Hamas Interior Minister Said Sayyam who was responsible for Hamas terror attacks and was killed during the recent military operation ‘Cast Lead’ apparently was a UNRWA teacher for 23 years.

Can the Commission clarify whether these statements are correct? If this is the case, UNRWA as a Hamas-dependent organisation depends heavily on EU support. What consequences does this have for the EU’s financial support of UNRWA?

OJ C 189, 13/07/2010

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