Flash90/Hassan Jedi
UNRWA staff members outside the UNRWA offices in Gaza City on April 14, 2019.

While nations drop support for UNRWA over terror funding, the IRS lets the cash flow.

By Daniel Greenfield, Front page Magazine

Before Ismail Haniyeh became the leader of Hamas, he was a teacher at UNRWA.

The UN agency dedicated welfare agency for the Arab Muslim colonists who call themselves “Palestinians” had long since become a terrorist front.

“I am sure that there are Hamas members on the UNRWA payroll,” a former UNRWA Commissioner General said, “and I don’t see that as a crime.”

A former official boasted “that UNRWA was raising thousands and thousands of cadres” and “first and foremost, we can mention Ismail Haniyeh, who was an UNRWA teacher, and so was Dr. Talal Naji, Secretary-General of the PFLP-GC.” The PFLP is also a terrorist group.

The UNRWA’s Gaza staff has its own union. In a 2012 election, a pro-Hamas bloc won the support of most of the union with 25 out of 27 seats on a union board. When there was talk of reforming the UNRWA by removing Hamas members from its ranks, the editor of a Hamas paper wrote that, “they are all members of the ‘resistance,’ in its various forms.”

How true is that? Israeli intelligence estimates that 1 in 4 male UNRWA employees had ties to Hamas and 1 in 2 employees had family ties to terrorists.

On Oct 7, multiple UNRWA employees took part in the attack. One UNRWA teacher was recorded boasting “I’m inside, I’m inside with the Jews! We have female hostages, I captured one!” while using the Islamic term for sex slave. At least 30 UNRWA employees took part in other parts of the attack, running an ops room, carrying antitank missiles and invading Israel.

Within a group of 3,000 UNRWA staff members, there was widespread celebration on Oct 7.

Hamas kept key assets, including a data and command center, under UNRWA’s headquarters and has regularly deployed its rockets at UNRWA sites and hidden in UNRWA supplies. Hamas has taken UNRWA supplies so that aid and funding for it supplies the Islamic terror group.

As a result of these revelations and more, a number of nations paused their funding to UNRWA.

But despite evidence of Hamas ties, UNRWA USA continues to retain nonprofit status in the U.S. Providing material aid to Hamas, a sanctioned terrorist group on the State Department’s Foreign Terrorist Organization list, is illegal, and illegal acts violate tax code regulations.

Survivors of the Oct 7 attacks including Lishay Lavi, who had to watch along with her daughters while Hamas kidnapped her husband, David Bromberg, who hid for 7 hours while watching others at the Nova music festival being massacred by the terrorists, and Natalie Sanandaji, an American woman who had been in Israel for a wedding and then had to run for her life, along with other survivors have sued UNRWA USA.

The lawsuit alleges that “UNRWA USA collects donations in the United States and then transfers nearly all its funds to UNRWA” which “redistributes those funds to Hamas members on their payroll, some of whom are directly engaged in acts of terrorism, including but not limited to, the October 7th atrocities.”

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) depends heavily on two international NGOs, UNRWA USA and another in Spain. UNRWA USA, despite cultivating an image as an aid group, features veteran anti-Israel activists on its board, including Nadia Saah, Lara Friedman, and Shibley Telhami. The latter took part in an event with a Hamas apologist.

UNRWA USA’s report claims that it was able to provide $3.8 million to UNRWA in 2022. That money and previous funds raised by UNRWA USA could have bolstered Hamas before Oct 7.

While survivors and their families are entitled to sue UNRWA USA, the IRS has failed to act.

This is in sharp contrast to the IRS pursuit of pro-Israel groups under the Obama administration.

Z Street, one of those groups, launched a legal battle that exposed the administration’s targeting of political opponents.

Z Street’s founder, Lori Lowenthal Marcus, told Front Page Magazine that, “One of the excuses given to Z Street by an IRS official was that the IRS had to make sure we were not ‘engaged in terrorism’ because we mentioned ‘terror’ in our mission statement. The part of Z Street’s mission that mentioned terror? ‘We will not engage with, negotiate with or appease terrorists.’”

The IRS however appears to have a different position on terrorism. And that may explain its actions.

Among the more recent targets of the IRS has been the David Horowitz Freedom Center which spent 5 years battling the federal agency because we reported on Hillary Clinton’s emails.

Front Page Magazine had previously exposed the role that the IRS has played in enabling the funding and political support for Hamas in the United States by 501(c)(3) charity nonprofits.

But UNRWA may be the single large beneficiary of the IRS’ willful blindness to Islamic terrorism.

What is true of UNRWA is also true of much of the United Nations.

“Hamas is not a terrorist group for us, as you know, it is a political movement,” UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Martin Griffiths recently argued.

But UNRWA is unique as a UN agency that functions as an employment agency for Hamas, provides it with facilities and aid, and political cover for its campaign to kill Jews.

The lawsuit by the survivors of the Hamas attacks states that, “UNRWA USA was fully aware that UNRWA employees supported, engaged in, and celebrated the terrorist attacks on October 7, but Defendant continued to fund UNRWA and its terrorist activities before, during, and after the October 7 terrorist attack.”

Even as the investigation of UNRWA goes on, the IRS has expressed no interest in examining the nonprofit status of UNRWA USA as they did Z Street, the David Horowitz Freedom Center and other conservative and pro-Israel groups who have been targeted for political reasons.