US report doubts Israeli claims of UNRWA involvement in Oct. 7 attacks


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Israeli allegations that UN aid agency staff participated in the October 7 Hamas attack are facing scepticism following a US intelligence report. Israel had asserted that 12 individuals associated with the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) were involved in the attack. Earlier claims also contended that up to 10% of UNRWA employees in Gaza had ties to Hamas. However, the Wall Street Journal disclosed an intelligence report expressing “low confidence” in the credibility of Israel’s assertions. The report acknowledged the credibility of Israel’s accusations against the 12 individuals but highlighted the inability of US intelligence services to verify them independently.

Consequently, several nations, including the United States, halted funding to UNRWA based on the contested claims. The intelligence report raised doubts about the extent of collaboration between UNRWA staff and Hamas, emphasising a lack of evidence supporting Israel’s accusations. Notably, the report mentioned that Israel had not shared the raw intelligence supporting its assessments with the United States. Secretary of State Antony Blinken had previously endorsed Israel’s claims in January, describing them as “highly, highly credible.”

UNRWA, a crucial source of aid for Palestinians in Gaza, has been under scrutiny amid the ongoing Israeli ground and air offensive in the region. Philippe Lazzarini, the commissioner general of UNRWA, disclosed that evidence had not been adequately investigated before nine accused staff members were dismissed. Lazzarini emphasised the commitment to a thorough investigation and mentioned the possibility of proper compensation if the findings revealed errors in the dismissals. The agency’s role remains pivotal as thousands of Palestinians have lost their lives, and many more have suffered injuries and displacement due to the aggression.