Congress Must Investigate the UN Role in Gaza

Congressional committees have a lot on their plate these days with the IRS, Benghazi, the VA fiasco, etc., but recent events dictate they must add one more -- the role of the United Nations in Gaza.

The United States provides more financial support to the UN than any other country. As Claudia Rosett wrote in Forbes in 2011 ("Magic for U. S. Money for the United Nations"): "The U.S. is by far the biggest donor to the U.N., bankrolling 22% of the U.N.’s core budget, and roughly one-quarter of its far larger and murkier system-wide spending (estimated at somewhere upward of $25 billion)."

In other words, the UN takes a bucket of your cash and mine at a time when many people in our country are suffering.  It therefore behooves Congress to make sure this money is being spent for good, or at the very least benign, purposes.

Unfortunately, evidence developing from the ongoing conflagration between Israel and Hamas appears to suggest the reverse.  The UN -- specifically the UNRWA (UN Relief and Works Agency), but other agencies as well -- may have  been actively supporting terrorism and terrorists in the Gaza Strip, even aiding with the storage of Hamas weaponry (missiles), whether deliberately or accidentally is unclear.

From the Jerusalem Post:

Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman decreed in a meeting with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Wednesday that not only were rockets found in UNRWA schools in Gaza, but also that UNRWA then turned them over to Hamas, rather than to Israel.

UNRWA admitted itself on two different occasions since the beginning of Operation Protective Edge began 16 days ago that they discovered rockets in their facilities.

Liberman said Israel was very “troubled” by these developments. “UNRWA schools were established to educate children in Gaza, but instead they are providing a hiding place for rockets meant to kill children in Israel,” he said.

Just what were those missiles doing in the UN schools and why did Hamas suppose that would be a good place to store them? The UN denies their culpability and says this was the "first time" such a thing has happened. But is that true?

This is not a new story. Israelis have been claiming the UNRWA has been assisting terrorists for years.

From a report by the Center for Near East Policy Research (it's worth reading the whole thing) on the UN refugee camps:

Hints of the radicalism that pertained in the camps were provided by 1997, if not sooner, with reports such as that of the Washington Jewish Week. vii This included photographs of UNRWA schools decorated with Hamas and PFLP graffiti, and a map of “Palestine” that ran from the Jordan to the Mediterranean and was covered with pictures of machine guns. It is doubtful that anyone was paying attention back then.

Broad scale exposure came in the spring of 2002. In response to the terrorism emanating from UNRWA refugee camps in Judea and Samaria as part of the “Second Intifada,” Israel launched “Operation Defensive Shield.” At that time, the IDF went into the camps and laid bare the facts regarding the refugees’ connection to terrorism.

Dore Gold, former Israeli Ambassador to the UN, was in Jenin in April 2002 as a consultant to the IDF and himself witnessed presence of shahid (martyr) posters on the walls in the homes of UNRWA workers. “It was clear,” he said “that UNRWA workers were doubling as Hamas operatives.'"

It's not a long leap from that to stowing missiles.

But it gets worse. The situation in Gaza now is incomparably more dangerous for all concerned. As those who pay attention know by now, the entire Strip and much of Southern Israel are riddled with a mammoth network of terror tunnels designed to murder and kidnap Israelis and store weapons while protecting the mega-rich Hamas leadership. Liel Leibovitz wrote in a ground-breaking (sorry for the pun) article in Tablet today ("Some Concrete Facts About Hamas"):

Israeli troops entering Gaza last week have so far uncovered 18 tunnels used by Hamas to send armed terrorists into Israel and built using an estimated 800,000 tons of concrete.

What else might that much concrete build? Erecting Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest tower, required 110,000 tons of concrete. Hamas, then, could’ve treated itself to seven such monstrosities and still had a few tens of thousands of tons to spare. If it wanted to build kindergartens equipped with bomb shelters, like Israel has built for the besieged citizens of Sderot, for example—after all, noted military strategists like Jon Stewart have spent last week proclaiming that Gaza’s citizens had nowhere to hide from Israel’s artillery—Hamas could have used its leftovers to whip up about two that were each as big as Giants Stadium. And that’s just 18 tunnels. Egypt, on its end, recently claimed to have destroyed an additional 1,370. That’s a lot of concrete.

Indeed.  And how did it get there?  That concrete was supposedly shipped into Gaza for "humanitarian purposes."  Isn't that purportedly the province of the UN?  What was there role in it exactly? How did this stunning amount of concrete slip in to be used for evil purposes? Is the American taxpayer innocently being used to finance mass murder?  Inquiring minds want to know -- the moral ones anyway.

Yes, the United Nations is outside the legal jurisdiction of the U. S. Congress, but a formal investigation should be launched.  Some people will have a lot say -- and I am sure it will be interesting. The American people can make up their own minds.

Congress, over to you.

****

image illustration via shutterstock / shalunts