One is accused of kidnapping a girl. One other is alleged to have handed out ammunition. A 3rd was described as participating within the bloodbath at a kibbutz the place 97 individuals died. And all have been stated to be workers of the United Nations support company that colleges, shelters and feeds a whole bunch of 1000’s of Palestinians within the Gaza Strip.
The accusations are contained in a file offered to america authorities that particulars Israel’s claims in opposition to a dozen workers of the United Nations Reduction and Works Company who, it says, performed a job within the Hamas assaults in opposition to Israel on Oct. 7 or of their aftermath.
The U.N. stated on Friday that it had fired a number of workers after being briefed on the allegations. However little was identified concerning the accusations till the file was reviewed on Sunday by The New York Occasions.
The accusations are what prompted eight nations, together with america, to droop some support fee to the UNRWA, because the company is understood, whilst warfare plunges Palestinians in Gaza into determined straits. Greater than 26,000 individuals have been killed there and practically two million displaced, based on Gazan and U.N. officers.
The UNRWA staff have been accused of serving to Hamas stage the assault that set off the warfare in Gaza, or of aiding it within the days after. Some 1,200 individuals in Israel have been killed that day, Israeli officers say, and about 240 have been kidnapped and brought to Gaza.
On Sunday, the United Nations secretary basic, António Guterres, described himself as “horrified by these accusations” and famous that 9 of the 12 accused workers had been fired. However Mr. Guterres implored these nations that had suspended their support funds to rethink. UNRWA is among the largest employers in Gaza, with 13,000 individuals, principally Palestinians, on workers.
Requested about Israel’s allegations on Sunday, UNRWA stated that two of the 12 workers have been useless however that it couldn’t present extra data whereas the U.N.’s Workplace of Inner Oversight Providers was nonetheless investigating.
Two Western officers confirmed on the situation of anonymity that that they had been briefed on the contents of the file in latest days, however stated that they had not been capable of confirm the main points. Though america has but to corroborate the Israeli claims itself, American officers say they discovered them credible sufficient to warrant suspending support.
The Occasions verified the identification of one of many 12 workers, a storeroom supervisor, whose social media profile lists him as an UNRWA worker and exhibits him carrying U.N.-branded garments.
The Israeli file, offered to U.S. officers on Friday, lists the names and jobs of the UNRWA workers and the allegations in opposition to them.
The file stated that Israeli intelligence officers had established the actions of six of the lads inside Israel on Oct. 7 primarily based on their telephones; others had been monitored whereas making telephone calls inside Gaza throughout which, the Israelis say, they mentioned their involvement within the Hamas assault.
Three others received textual content messages ordering them to report back to muster factors on Oct. 7, and one was informed to convey rocket-propelled grenades saved at his dwelling, based on the file.
The Israelis described 10 of the workers as members of Hamas, the militant group that managed Gaza on the time of the Oct. 7 assault. One other was stated to be affiliated with one other militant group, Islamic Jihad.
But seven of the accused have been additionally stated to be academics at UNRWA colleges, instructing college students in topics like math and Arabic. Two others labored on the colleges in different capacities. The remaining three have been described as a clerk, a social employee and the storeroom supervisor.
Essentially the most detailed accusations within the file involved a college counselor from Khan Younis, in southern Gaza, who’s accused of working together with his son to abduct a girl from Israel.
A social employee from Nuseirat, in central Gaza, is accused of serving to to convey the physique of a useless Israeli soldier to Gaza, in addition to distributing ammunition and coordinating autos on the day of the assault.
The Israeli accusations come in opposition to the backdrop of decades-long frictions with UNRWA. Since 1949, the company has cared for the households of Palestinians who fled or have been pressured from their properties in the course of the wars surrounding the creation of the state of Israel.
The group offers very important support to greater than 5 million Palestinian refugees scattered throughout the Center East, whose future and standing have by no means been resolved regardless of years of negotiations.
However to its critics, together with many Israelis, the company is an impediment to resolving the battle. Its very existence, they are saying, prevents Palestinian refugees from integrating into new communities and stokes their goals of someday returning to what’s now Israel — a purpose that Israel says it’s going to by no means permit. And in Gaza, Israel argues, UNRWA has fallen beneath the affect of Hamas, a declare the company rejects.
This isn’t the primary time america has reduce off cash to the U.N. company. The Trump administration suspended support as half its efforts to stress the Palestinian management to cease demanding that refugees be allowed to return to Israel.
However the present risk to its funding is taken into account to be the gravest in its historical past as a result of it comes at a time of disaster for Gaza.
Amid warnings of famine, the collapse of the well being system and the large displacement of the Palestinian inhabitants, UNRWA’s work is taken into account extra vital than ever. It helps coordinate the distribution of the provides of support — nevertheless meager — that arrive every day in southern Gaza, and its colleges present shelter to greater than one million Gazans, based on the company’s statistics.
The funding suspensions could also be felt shortly. In contrast to different U.N. businesses, UNRWA has no strategic monetary reserve. On Sunday, Mr. Guterres stated companies may have to be diminished starting in February.
A day earlier, the company’s commissioner-general, Philippe Lazzarini, warned of impending disaster.
“It will be immensely irresponsible to sanction an company and a whole neighborhood it serves due to allegations of legal acts in opposition to some people, particularly at a time of warfare, displacement and political crises within the area,” he stated.
“The lives of individuals in Gaza rely upon this assist, and so does regional stability,” Mr. Lazzarini stated.
The State Division on Friday acknowledged the important humanitarian function performed by UNRWA however stated it was suspending its funding whereas it assessed each the allegations and the company’s response to them.
Israeli officers themselves have been involved on Sunday about whether or not their accusations may in the long run make their very own place tougher, based on three officers concerned within the dialogue. A collapse within the supply of companies to Gaza might drive Israel to shoulder a larger function in working support distribution — a job it doesn’t need.
Studies concerning the accusations in opposition to the help staff got here on the identical day that the Worldwide Court docket of Justice issued an interim ruling on accusations of genocide which have been leveled in opposition to Israel by South Africa. The court docket ordered Israel to take motion to stop acts of genocide by its forces in Gaza and to permit extra support into the territory.
Reporting was contributed by Johnatan Reiss, Julian E. Barnes, Gabby Sobelman and Myra Noveck.