by Asaf Romirowsky and Nicole Brackman
There was a bit of head-scratching going on recently in the hallowed halls of the UN.
After weeks of rebuking
Israeli officials have been saying all along that Hamas routinely diverts humanitarian aid. In April, fuel trucks destined for UNRWA warehouses were overtaken. It was reported in August that Hamas gunmen had hijacked more than 10 trucks destined for the Palestinian Red Crescent Society full of food and medical supplies.
All that is only more ironic given the worldwide castigation of
And the criticism wasn't limited to the issue of aid. The UN (and the international community) was quick to condemn Israel for allegedly targeting an UNRWA-run school, despite widespread acknowledgement that Hamas routinely employs such facilities as "civilian shields" in an attempt to draw Israeli fire.
The incident where IDF fire hit an UNRWA school in the Jabalya refugee camp in
Just days ago, though, UN officials admitted that
It may have taken the embarrassment over such a glaring error to get the UN to acknowledge what the Israelis have been saying all along: that Hamas' callous use of civilians as shields is itself a humanitarian crisis.
Despite the new information, it's worth taking a close look at the historical ties between UNRWA and Hamas. UNRWA has long been a major employer for Hamas members, and has lent its facilities to Hamas and other terror organizations for weapons-related purposes.
For example, in May, we learned that Awad al-Qiq, who was targeted by the Israeli military, was a U.N. employee and headmaster of a top prep school in
Since Hamas' takeover of
UNRWA appears to be chiefly concerned with its own survival and continued funding. As Karen AbuZayd, the commissioner general of UNRWA, said after the Hamas takeover, "We are not scared. Donor countries have not in any way said they will stop their aid to UNRWA.
"On the contrary, we were approached by many of these countries, even
To be perfectly blunt, the theft of humanitarian aid by Hamas (not to mention its ruthless use of its own people as targets as well as shields) only proves the point: Dead civilians are not
According to Hamas' thinking, the more Palestinian victims there are, the more the international community will try to pressure
Now that the shooting has stopped, the Obama administration has pledged to provide some $900 million to help rebuild
When it comes to doling out the money, UNRWA and Hamas - both of whom seem to be more focused on empty rhetoric rather than working towards a peaceful Palestinian civil society - should be bypassed.
Asaf Romirowsky is an associate fellow at the Middle East Forum and manager of
Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.