Israel Identifies 108 UNRWA Employees Linked to Terrorism, Calls for Dismissal

The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs has accused the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) of employing 108 individuals who are allegedly involved in terrorist activities. In a letter dated July 4, obtained by Digital, Ambassador Amir Weissbrod called for the immediate dismissal of these employees.

Weissbrod stated that the presence of suspected terrorist operatives within UNRWA has been a longstanding concern for Israeli officials, but that the full extent of the problem became apparent only after the October 7 terrorist attack on Israel, in which UNRWA employees are alleged to have played a role.

“In recent months Israel has discovered that hundreds of terrorists, members of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) have been employed by UNRWA in the Gaza Strip, some of them holding high-ranking positions in UNRWA or in Hamas.”

The ambassador stated that the purpose of his letter was to share additional information on the matter and proceeded to provide a list of identified employees associated with Hamas.

“Please find attached a document containing 108 names and IDs of who are currently employed by UNRWA-Gaza,” Weissbrod wrote. “This list includes their military IDs as well.”

The official clarified that this list represents only a small portion of the suspected terrorist operatives employed by UNRWA and that additional names will be provided in the future.

“Israel expects from you and your organization to immediately terminate the employment of any member of Hamas or PIJ…their work in UNRWA poses a security risk for Israel, and represents a breach of the principle of neutrality as was mentioned in Ms. Colonna’s report,” Weissbrod added.

“This list will also be provided to major UNRWA donors.”

The Israeli government has repeatedly presented evidence, including photographs, videos, and documents, demonstrating the alleged involvement of Hamas terrorists within UNRWA. The agency has previously acknowledged the authenticity of this information. In January, UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini announced the termination of contracts for UNRWA staff members implicated in the October 7 attacks.

“To protect the Agency’s ability to deliver humanitarian assistance, I have taken the decision to immediately terminate the contracts of these staff members and launch an investigation in order to establish the truth without delay,” he said. “Any UNRWA employee who was involved in acts of terror will be held accountable, including through criminal prosecution,” he said at the time.

However, Lazzarini has recently voiced opposition to Israeli criticisms of his organization. During a meeting at the U.N. in Geneva, he described UNRWA as being “staggering under the weight of relentless attacks.”

“Israel has long been critical of the agency’s mandate. But it now seeks to end UNRWA’s operations, dismissing the agency’s status as a United Nations entity supported by an overwhelming majority of member states,” he said. “If we do not push back, other U.N. entities and international organizations will be next, further undermining our multilateral system.”

Digital reached out to UNRWA for a statement but did not immediately hear back.