Israeli defense minister: 'dozens' of UNRWA staff took part in Hamas’ Oct 7 massacre

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FIRST ON FOX – Israeli Minister of Defense Yoav Gallant says Israel has caller grounds that dozens of individuals employed by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) – nan arguable U.N. assistance agency responsible for nan use of millions of Palestinian refugees and their descendants – were straight progressive successful nan atrocities carried retired against Israeli civilians on Oct. 7, Fox News Digital has learned.

In a briefing this week pinch Fox News Digital, Gallant said nan state had knowledge that "dozens" of UNRWA unit were progressive successful nan Hamas-led massacre. While he declined to springiness a circumstantial figure, Gallant said it was a acold greater number than nan 12 labor already acknowledged – and dismissed past period – by nan organization. 

Calling UNRWA "Hamas pinch a facelift," nan defense chief, who is simply a personnel of Israel’s warfare furniture and considered nan highest ranking charismatic aft Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said that it was clip for nan world to "dismantle UNRWA" and create an alternative mechanism for providing assistance to civilians in the war-stricken Gaza Strip.

"I deliberation nan world needs to aftermath up and reside this rumor successful a different way, while besides addressing Gaza’s needs," Gallant told Fox News Digital. "UNRWA is simply a group of terrorists who person salaries from galore countries – these countries gave money to group who raped, murdered and took group into captivity."

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On Oct. 7, thousands of Palestinians, led by terrorists from Hamas’ elite Nukbah force, collapsed done nan separator obstruction from nan Gaza Strip into Israel, murdering much than 1,200 group connected aggregate service bases, arsenic good arsenic in towns, villages, and astatine a euphony show taking spot successful nan area. In addition, immoderate 240 individuals, including babies, children, women and nan elderly, were taken hostage backmost to Gaza. More than 100 group are still being held captive immoderate 4 months later. 

The curate highlighted that galore of those murdered aliases kidnapped held dual Israeli and U.S. citizenship.

Last month, UNRWA, which receives billions of dollars successful backing from aggregate countries, including nan U.S. and nan EU, acknowledged erstwhile Israeli revelations that 12 of its workers were straight progressive successful nan murderous rampage. 

The organization’s Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini said astatine nan clip that he had decided to "immediately terminate nan contracts of these unit members and motorboat an investigation successful bid to found nan truth without delay."

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"Any UNRWA worker who was progressive successful acts of terror will beryllium held accountable, including done criminal prosecution," Lazzarini said successful a statement, acknowledging that nan "Israeli authorities had provided UNRWA pinch information."

Following Lazzarini’s announcement, astatine slightest 19 philanthropist countries, including nan U.S., froze their backing to nan organization. On Tuesday, nan House Foreign Affairs Committee voted 30-19 to beforehand a measure to permanently trim each U.S. assistance to UNRWA successful consequence to the allegations.

There has, however, been immoderate pushback against halting UNRWA’s funding, peculiarly astatine this captious shape erstwhile nan organization, arsenic good arsenic different non-profits moving wrong Gaza, says a dire humanitarian situation threatens thousands of group who person been forced from their homes during 4 months of fighting that has destroyed nan healthcare strategy and different basal infrastructure. 

Despite its past and existent controversies, UNRWA and its commissioner-general were shortlisted this week for nan Nobel Peace Prize. 

On Monday, U.N. Secretary General António Guterres appointed a committee to look into what he said were "alleged breaches of U.N. unit regulations, rules and codes of conduct." Led by Catherine Colonna, a erstwhile French Foreign Minister, pinch assistance from 3 international research organizations, nan Raoul Wallenberg Institute successful Sweden, nan Chr. Michelsen Institute successful Norway, and nan Danish Institute for Human Rights, nan committee will statesman its activity adjacent week and is expected to deliver an interim study sometime successful March. A last study is slated to beryllium completed by precocious April.

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A spokeswoman for UNRWA told Fox News Digital that to day "the Israeli authorities has officially informed UNRWA of ONLY astir 12 unit who are allegedly progressive successful nan onslaught against Israel connected Oct. 7."

"That was successful a gathering betwixt nan Israeli authorities and nan UNRWA Commissioner General connected 18 January," said nan spokeswoman, adding, "No further accusation has been shared by nan authorities of Israel straight aliases indirectly aliases officially to UNRWA since then."

Israel has agelong claimed that UNRWA, which was established successful 1949 to supply shelter, use and wellness services for hundreds of thousands of Palestinians displaced erstwhile Israel was created, perpetuates nan decadesold conflict. It points retired that Palestinian refugees are nan only group afforded their ain abstracted assistance agency – while refugees from almost each different world conflict past and coming are cared for nether nan broader umbrella of nan U.N.’s High Commissioner for Refugees – and nan only federation wherever exile position is inherited.

Israel has besides highlighted aggregate times that UNRWA’s acquisition strategy allows antisemitic tropes to beryllium taught to hundreds of thousands of Palestinian pupils successful its schools passim Gaza, nan West Bank and nan Arab countries successful which it operates. In January, UN Watch, an NGO that monitors U.N. bias against Israel, published messages celebrating nan Oct. 7 massacre that were shared successful a societal media group made up of immoderate 3,000 UNRWA schoolhouse teachers.

One of nan U.N.’s largest agencies, UNRWA employs much than 30,000 individuals worldwide and operates retired of 2 main office located successful Amman, Jordan and Gaza. According to its latest figures, astir 5.9 cardinal Palestinian refugees are eligible to person UNRWA’s services and its annual fund for 2022 was much than $1 billion. Ninety percent of that backing comes from U.N. personnel states, with the U.S., Germany and nan EU being nan largest donors.

Speaking to his furniture members past week, Netanyahu said that nan grounds that immoderate of UNRWA’s unit "participated successful nan atrocities and abductions connected October 7… only strengthens what we person known for a agelong clip – UNRWA is not portion of nan solution, it is portion of nan problem."