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UNRWA: Sure, we employ Hamas

The UNRWA, the UN agency responsible for Palestinian refugees, has long been accused by Israel of employing terrorists and facilitating. In an interview with CBC on the weekend, the head of the agency, Peter Hansen, admitted this openly:

“Oh I am sure that there are Hamas members on the UNRWA payroll and I don’t see that as a crime. Hamas as a political organization does not mean that every member is a militant and we do not do political vetting and exclude people from one persuasion as against another,” Hanson told CBC TV.

That was two days ago. Today, Hansen is singing a different tune. He’s demanded an apology from Israel for the latter’s call to the U.N. to investigate the former, after Israel accused UNRWA of letting terrorists use one of their ambulances to transport rockets.

Kofi Annan is sending a team to investigate. For the uninitiated, this is what is known in diplomatic circles as a “stall tactic”. Annan hopes that this show of action will mollify critics long enough for the story to blow over, and in the meantime, his investigators can get a nice falafel dinner and perhaps a soak in the Med.

Because, of course, everyone knows that the U.N. is so very even-handed when it comes to mideast politics…

{ 5 comments… add one }
  • josh 10.05.04, 8:42 AM

    The whole purpose of UNWRA is to perpetuate the refugee situation, not solve it.

    Billions of dollars and euros flowed into the territories during ‘Oslo’, but in contrast to the settlers who bought land and built ‘settlements’ for tens of thousands of people, the Arabs and the UN built a few apartment buildings and kept the people in the ‘refugee camps’.

  • Ikram 10.05.04, 2:02 PM

    In a few years, HAMAS will be the elected government in Gaza, and Israel will not only be negotiating with it, it will be handing over the taxes necessary to support that government. Terrorist groups always have supposedly-but-not-really “arm’s length” political wings — there’s no news here.

  • segacs 10.05.04, 2:11 PM

    Ever the optimist, Ikram…

  • Jonathan Edelstein 10.05.04, 3:45 PM

    I don’t think Ikram is necessarily an optimist, but I do think he’s a realist – Hamas has decided to participate in elections, and it will likely win many of the municipal polls in Gaza. Israel will, ultimately, have to deal with Hamas. On the other hand, political participation is a two-edged sword, because once Hamas is in government, every Qassam that hits Sderot will be an act of state and it will be accountable to voters if it brings on an invasion. This would be the first step in defanging Hamas, just as Hezbollah is much quieter now that it’s a Lebanese political party.

  • Josh 10.06.04, 10:01 AM

    Hi Johnathan,
    don’t assume anything.

    Shit has been happening on our northern border since we cowardly retreated four years ago, and Jews have been killed. What have we done? Bomber empty shacks. Lebanon it seems is not repsonsible for attacks carried out from its land.

    Israel has no legitimacy to do anything unless a major attack is successful and more than 30 Jews are killed in one shot. A pregnant Tali Hatuael and her four little girls were killed at point blank range. Anyone notice?

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