Israel accuses U.N. workers of aiding Hamas in attack, prompting major funding freeze

Israel accuses U.N. workers of aiding Hamas in attack, prompting major funding freeze

An Israeli document obtained on Monday laid out serious allegations against U.N. employees, accusing them of participating in Hamas' assault on Oct. 7. The accusations claim that seven of the accused workers stormed into Israeli territory, with two being involved in kidnappings. These allegations prompted major Western countries, including the U.S. and Britain, to freeze funds for the U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees, known as UNRWA. The United Nations has condemned the alleged actions and fired nine of the accused workers, including teachers and a social worker.

The accusations come amid years of tension between Israel and the UNRWA over its work in Gaza, and with the agency facing financial uncertainty due to the majority of its budget being in doubt. As the threat looms of UNRWA halting operations within weeks if funding isn't restored, Israel and Hamas continue ceasefire talks to bring relief to war-torn Gaza and secure the release of over 100 hostages still held in the territory. Meanwhile, the war sparked by Hamas' October 7 attack has resulted in significant casualties on both sides, with the majority of Gaza's population now depending on UNRWA's programs for survival.

The Israeli document claims that at least 190 UNRWA workers have ties to Hamas or Islamic Jihad, with 12 workers allegedly involved in terror activities or facilitating the attack. UNRWA maintains that it does not knowingly tolerate such behavior and has internal safeguards to prevent abuse and discipline any wrongdoing. The U.N. has called for the donors to resume funding, as a quarter of Gaza's population is currently facing starvation due to fighting and Israeli restrictions hindering the delivery of aid.

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