Palestinians protest Murtaja's death. (Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90) (Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90)
Yasser Murtaja

The Palestinian “journalist” killed on the border with Israel, who was in fact a Hamas intelligence officer, was to work for the Norwegian Refugee Council, which has a history of anti-Israel bias.

By: United with Israel Staff

Yasser Murtaja, the purported journalist killed on Friday on the border with Israel, who was revealed to be a Hamas intelligence officer, was set to become a Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) contractor.

The NRC, which describes itself as “an independent humanitarian organization helping people forced to flee”, stated Monday that Murtaja “had agreed to document for NRC the bitter prolonged struggle faced by Palestinian refugees in Gaza. The work was planned to start the day after he was killed.”

NGO Monitor, an independent research institution that tracks other non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that use the ‘humanitarian’ banner as cover for anti-Israel activities, stated that “this is another worrying example of Hamas infiltration of an international aid organization.”

NGO Monitor highlighted NRC’s anti-Israel statements, one of which criticized Israel’s “counter-terrorism measures” – designed to prevent Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist factions from commandeering materials and funds – as “the primary obstacle to humanitarian action within Gaza.”

NGO Monitor also found that one of NRC’s principle projects in Israel dubbed “information, counseling, and legal assistance” (ICLA), actually “exploits judicial frameworks to manipulate Israeli policy, bypassing democratic frameworks”.

A lawyer affiliated with the NRC program stated  that the objective of the program is an attempt to “try every possible legal measure to disrupt the Israeli judicial system… as many cases as possible are registered and as many cases as possible are appealed to increase the workload of the courts and the Supreme Court to such an extent that there will be a blockage.”

Hamas Exploits Aid for Terrorism

Over the years, there has been ample evidence that Palestinian terror operatives infiltrating aid groups operating in Gaza and diverting funds and other resources for terrorism purposes.

In 2016, Mohammed El-Halabi, World Vision’s manager of operations in Gaza was arrested and is currently on trial for funneling approximately $50 million, 60 percent of its funds, to Hamas for use in constructing terror tunnels and military installations, as well as other terrorist activities.

Shortly after this, the Shin Bet (Israel’s Security Agency) publicized that it arrested a humanitarian aid worker from the Gaza Strip on charges he was exploiting his position at the UNDP to provide assistance to Hamas, and in April 2018, in a US court settlement, the NGO Norwegian People’s Aid admitted to working with Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist organizations in Gaza.

“The repeated instances in which international organizations are hijacked by Hamas highlights the urgent need for greater oversight by both NGOs and their donor governments,” stated NGO Monitor President, Prof. Gerald Steinberg.

He added that “organizations must take vetting procedures very seriously in selecting employees, and conduct frequent financial reviews and audits to actually help the vulnerable population of Gaza and prevent diversion.”