UNRWA Teachers Celebrated Hamas Massacre: Report

Palestinian Hamas militants (Chris McGrath/Getty Images)
November 6, 2023

Several teachers and other staff members from the United Nations Relief and Works Agency have celebrated Hamas's terror attacks on Israel, according to a report.

The report from the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education found 13 UNRWA staffers, seven of them teachers, who made social media posts celebrating Hamas's Oct. 7 terror attacks on Israel or other violent actions from the terror group. The agency is tasked with providing relief and education to Palestinian refugees.

Some teachers quoted from the Koran to celebrate the Oct. 7 Hamas attack, in which hundreds of Israeli civilians were killed, many in their homes. One teacher, Bilal Ahmed, quoted a verse that reads, "We sent against you servants of Ours—those of great military might, and they probed [even] into the homes, and it was a promise fulfilled."

Another teacher on Oct. 7 reacted to video of a rocket attack on Israel, calling it "a splendid sight."

Other teachers in the days following the attack shared videos showing attacks on soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces.

The report also identified a UNRWA school in the West Bank that posted a video of a rally in its courtyard, in which a young boy prayed that "God give victory to their Jihad warriors" in their fight against "the enemies of religion."

UNRWA communications director Juliette Touma rejected the report's findings in comments to the Washington Free Beacon.

"UNRWA rejects claims linking its schools to the abhorrent 7 October attacks in Israel–attacks that UNRWA has condemned in the strongest terms," Touma said. "As in the past, these allegations are yet another attempt to sensationalize and extrapolate, based on flawed methodology and flimsy evidence."

Touma also alleged that similar claims in the past from the institute and other organizations have included social media posts "by ex-personnel who left the agency years ago."

Touma said the institute's findings that textbooks in UNRWA schools have anti-Semitic content in them are "unsubstantiated."

"UNRWA has zero tolerance towards hatred and the promotion of violence," Touma said. "It stands by its neutrality and includes these values in its schools and education. The textbooks and other materials used in UNRWA schools are vetted on a regular basis by an international group of experts."

This is not the first time the UNRWA has attracted controversy for its role in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. A 2022 State Department report found that two of the agency's schools had tunnels underneath them that terrorists used to transport fighters and munitions. The agency has also faced allegations that its schools "regularly call to murder Jews and create teaching materials that glorify terrorism, encourage martyrdom, demonize Israelis, and incite anti-Semitism."