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UN Agency Staff Praised Hamas’ Oct. 7 Massacre in Telegram Channel, Watchdog Reveals

An UNRWA aid truck at the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and the Gaza Strip. Photo: Reuters/Amr Abdallah Dalsh

A group of 3,000 teachers working in Gaza for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) — the global organization’s agency dedicated solely to the refugees and descendants of Palestinians who fled during Israel’s 1948 War of Independence — glorified and celebrated the Hamas terror group’s Oct. 7 pogrom across southern Israel in an internal Telegram group, according to a new investigation by UN Watch.

The Geneva-based NGO, which monitors the UN, found that on Oct. 7, when Palestinian terrorists invaded Israel, massacred 1,200 people, and kidnapped 240 others as hostages to Hamas-ruled Gaza, the UNRWA teachers posted messages such as “welcome the great October” and “Allah is great, reality surpasses our wildest dreams.”

One principal, Iman Hassan, said the surprise attack was “restoring rights” of Palestinians. Other teachers called the terrorists “heroes” and said “foreign nationals should remain among the Israeli prisoners in the Gaza Strip until the siege … is lifted.”

UN Watch exposed 20 specific Gaza educators who celebrated the massacre, ranging from regular teachers to even directors of a training center.

“This is the motherlode of UNRWA teachers’ incitement to jihadi terrorism,” UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer said in a statement. In a tweet accompanying the report’s release, he added that the agency was engaging in “the systematic incitement to terror.”

According to UNRWA, the agency has 702 schools with half a million students educated by nearly 20,000 teachers — including those who celebrated the Hamas attack.

Complaints that UNRWA is promoting antisemitism and terrorism are not new.

A report published in November by the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-se), an independent research group, found that at least 14 teachers at UNRWA-run schools had praised the Oct. 7 pogrom carried out by Hamas terrorists in southern Israel.

Another UNRWA teacher was separately accused by an Israeli journalist of having held one of the hostages abducted during the onslaught, depriving him of food and medical attention. For its part, UNRWA has strongly denied that there is any basis to that claim.

The US is the largest donor to UNRWA and gave over $371 million to the organization in 2023. Former President Donald Trump cut funding to the group in 2018, a move that was ultimately reversed when current President Joe Biden took office.

UNRWA’s future role in Gaza after the Israel-Hamas war ends has been a point of discussion in the Jewish state. Hebrew media reported last month that the Israeli government has outlined plans to root out the agency completely from Gaza following the war.

Part of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s refusal to endorse the idea of the Palestinian Authority governing Gaza should Hamas be wiped out is due to the education it supports via UNRWA that promotes incitement against Israel and Jews.

For example, a 2023 joint report by Impact-se and UN Watch found that UNRWA employees had created classroom material celebrating the firebombing of a Jewish bus as a “barbecue party,” encouraging students to pursue jihad and martyrdom, erasing Israel from maps, and encouraging students to “liberate the homeland” with “their blood,” among other examples of incitement to radicalism.

In its new report, UN Watch called for the immediate dismissal of the teachers it identified and the implementation of a zero-tolerance policy for any future instances of calls for incitement or glorifying terrorism.

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Washington Says It Will Not Back Expanded IDF Operations in Rafah

Displaced Palestinians, who fled their homes due to the war provoked by Hamas’s terror attacks, shelter in a tent camp, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, December 29, 2023. Photo: REUTERS/Shadi Tabatibi

i24 NewsMedics reported that Israeli airstrikes overnight in Gaza’s Rafah claimed the lives of 17 individuals on Saturday.

The attacks come as tensions escalate, with over a million Palestinians densely packed into the border city, awaiting a potential full-scale offensive amid widespread destruction across the enclave and limited avenues of escape.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office announced plans for military action, aiming to evacuate Rafah’s population and dismantle four Hamas battalions allegedly stationed in the area.

As IDF prepares for an intense ground operation in Rafah, its efforts to create safe corridors for Palestinian civilians are made more difficult by the fighting ongoing throughout Gaza. @mcauliffe_marym joins @Nicole_Zedek with the latest updates:

— i24NEWS English (@i24NEWS_EN) February 10, 2024

Unlike previous conflicts where civilians were urged to seek refuge in southern Gaza, the current situation presents a dilemma as there are no relatively unscathed areas left, leaving residents with nowhere to flee. Aid agencies have warned of the potential for a significant loss of civilian lives should an assault on Rafah occur.

Reports from Gaza City indicate intensified fighting on Saturday, with residents reporting clashes amid the ongoing hostilities.

An Israeli official, speaking on condition of anonymity to Reuters, disclosed plans to coordinate the relocation of Rafah residents northward in anticipation of potential military action. However, Egypt has stated its refusal to permit mass displacement of Palestinians into its territory,.

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Numerous Weapons Discovered in UNRWA Premises in Gaza

View of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) building in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip. Photo: Abed Rahim Khatib / Flash90.

i24 NewsThe IDF revealed that it had discovered, in the areas of Shati and Tel al-Hawa in northern Gaza, twenty terrorist infrastructure sites including a tunnel entrance near an UNRWA school. The tunnel, an “important part of Hamas’ military intelligence services,” passed under the building which serves as the main headquarters of UNRWA in the Gaza Strip.

Large quantities of weapons were found in rooms of the building, including rifles, ammunition, grenades and explosives. Intelligence and documents discovered in the offices of UNRWA officials confirmed that these offices had also been used by Hamas terrorists, the military claims.

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Qatar Says Hamas ‘Promises’ Hostages Received Medicines, But Offers no proof

One of the digital billboards of Hamas hostages that were taken down in London. Photo: Provided

i24 NewsIn a recent development, Qatar has informed both Israel and France that Hamas has purportedly agreed to ensure that hostages receive the essential medicines delivered to them in the Gaza Strip.

Last month, Qatar facilitated the transfer of these crucial drugs to Gaza following a comprehensive list compiled with input from the hostages’ respective doctors. The medications in question are deemed “vital,” primarily aimed at addressing chronic illnesses among the hostages.

This development comes amidst ongoing efforts to address the welfare and medical needs of the hostages held in Gaza, with international stakeholders closely monitoring the situation for further updates.

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