United Nations Officials Complicit in Hamas’s Atrocities, Lawmaker Says

Rep. Waltz presses UN to investigate agency’s role in hiding Israeli hostages

Rep. Mike Waltz (R., Fla.) (Riccardo Savi/Getty Images)
December 1, 2023

United Nations officials are working alongside Hamas terrorists to hide Israeli hostages, according to a Republican member of the House Intelligence Committee, who is calling on the international body to investigate evidence its employees are conspiring with the Iran-backed terror group.

Rep. Mike Waltz (R., Fla.), who also sits on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, wrote in a letter to U.N. leadership that its failure to prevent employees in the Gaza Strip from enabling Hamas could put it in violation of U.S. laws requiring the organization to ensure its facilities are not being used for military purposes—a violation that could jeopardize the international agency’s funding streams.

Waltz’s letter to U.N. secretary general António Guterres, sent Thursday and obtained by the Washington Free Beacon, comes on the heels of reports that employees with the U.N. Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA)—an aid organization that provides services in the embattled Gaza Strip—helped Hamas hide Israeli hostages seized during the terror group’s Oct. 7 attack on the Jewish state.

One of the hostages was held "for nearly 50 days in the attic of an UNRWA teacher," while an "additional hostage was held by a doctor in Gaza," according to Waltz, who says he was "appalled" by Israeli media reports exposing UNRWA’s complicity in Hamas’s war crimes.

"These actions indicate a broader problem of U.N. officials and their complicity with these atrocities," Waltz wrote. "It suggests the deep radicalization of the Palestinian population beyond Hamas members, which appears to have little appetite or interest for living in peace with Israelis."

UNRWA has long been plagued by accusations it promotes anti-Semitism throughout many of its schools in the Gaza Strip, which distributes educational materials that call for Israel’s destruction and promote violence against Jews. UNRWA also is known to hire teachers who are Hamas members or work closely with the group.

"I urge you in the strongest possible terms to investigate these allegations that UNRWA educational personnel were complicit in the hostage taking," Waltz wrote. "If so, a fundamental change needs to be made at the U.N. and in UNRWA specifically."

Hamas also uses facilities run by UNRWA and funded by the United Nations, including schools, to store weapons and launch missile strikes on Israel. American lawmakers have pressed the organization for years to implement a series of strict reforms, but Hamas continues to have access to UNRWA buildings.

The Trump administration cut off all American funding to UNRWA in 2018, citing the agency’s anti-Semitic bias and support for Hamas, but the Biden administration reversed this decision upon taking office. Since that time, the United States has awarded $618 million to UNRWA even as it continued to promote anti-Semitism in its school and promote Israel’s destruction.

Waltz warned the United Nations that its agency’s relationship with Hamas could put it in violation of a law passed this year that puts strict guardrails on the Biden administration’s funding for UNRWA.

"This past year the U.S. House imposed significant new restrictions on the Biden administration’s funding of UNRWA," Waltz notes. "These include ensuring the neutrality of UNRWA staff, preventing its facilities from being used for military purposes, and abiding by financial transparency requirements."

The legislation also required UNRWA to remove anti-Semitic teaching materials from its schools and to ensure "resources are not used to spread anti-Semitic messages or incite violence."