A UN agency catering to Palestinian refugees suspended one of its employees in Gaza after he was elected to Hamas’ leading political body.
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) suspended one of its workers, Dr. Suhail al-Hindi, after it was discovered that he had been elected to Hamas’ political leadership.
Al-Hindi served as Chairman of the Association of Palestinian Workers of UNRWA in Gaza and as principal of a UNRWA elementary school.
UNRWA initially stated on Thursday that the results of an ongoing internal investigation gave no reason to believe allegations that al-Hindi was a member of Hamas.
Chris Gunness of UNRWA later stated that al-Hindi was suspended due to “substantial information” received by the agency.
A spokesperson for the agency emphasized that all UNRWA members are prohibited from taking part in any political activity that could affect the independence of their activities within the framework of the agency.
Hindi was elected to the Hamas political leadership in the Gaza Strip on February 12.
“With much controversy, he also holds positions as both the Chairman of the Association of Palestinian Workers of UNRWA since 2012 and as an elementary school principal in the Gaza Strip,” the IDF’s Coordinator for Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) unit stated on Sunday, asking, ”Why is the UN employing senior members of Hamas terror organization?”
This is not the first time al-Hindi is suspected of involvement in terrorism. In 2011, he was suspended for three months after being accused of participating in public events with other senior members of Hamas, including Ismail Haniyeh. At the time, al-Hindi’s termination was eventually foiled following interventions by senior UN officials.
‘Incredible but True’
COGAT called on UNRWA to dismiss al-Hindi.
“Due to the severity of the situation, the head of COGAT, Major General Yoav (Poly) Mordechai, called on UNRWA to terminate al-Hindi immediately. Major General Mordechai also stated that COGAT directly approached UNRWA and demanded the agency conduct a thorough investigation and take care of the matter immediately,” COGAT stated.
“INCREDIBLE BUT TRUE!! Dr. Sahil al Hindi, senior at #UNWRA Gaza,appointed to #Hamas leadership. Maybe that’s how #Hamas looks for funding?!?” Israeli Foreign Ministry Spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon tweeted.
“If #UNWRA local Gaza officials are terror activists, what does it mean about #UNWRA? Is it an unwitting money channel for terror?” he asked in another tweet.
UNRWA, which provides exclusive aid to socalled Palestinian refugees, has frequently been criticized for employing anti-Semitic teachers and using textbooks that promote hatred for Jews, as well as for the fact that the Hamas terror organization has used its school buildings to hideweapons.
While the agency has occasionally taken action against some of its employees for their inflammatory social media posts, the issue of anti-Semitism remains a problem, according to a report issued earlier this month by the watchdog organization UN Watch.
The US, Canada and the European Union are UNRWA’s major donors.