Critics Challenged Canada’s Suspension Of UNRWA Funding – Now Are Silent When A Hamas Tunnel Is Found Underneath UNRWA’s Gaza HQ

February 13, 2024

In late January, Canada became part of a growing movement of countries around the world to suspend funding to the United Nation Relief & Works Agency (UNRWA), following Israeli allegations that a number of staff at the agency had participated in Hamas’ October 7 massacre in Israel.

The bombshell was only the latest chapter in UNRWA’s sordid history.

The agency, which runs a series of camps throughout the Middle East for Palestinians whose ancestors left Israel nearly 80 years ago, produces school textbooks which promote hatred against Israel, has kept the Palestinians it purports to serve in perpetual squalor, and has been an impediment to any hopes for peace in the region.

UNRWA has also been accused by one of its former senior leaders of intentionally keeping Palestinians in a state of perpetual homelessness as part of a “political decision” to apply pressure on Israel.

Following Canada’s funding suspension, some commentators have sought to downplay or question the serious charges leveled at UNRWA, while others have insisted that UNRWA remains an important provider of aid to Gaza’s population.

Evan Dyer, a senior reporter at CBC News, published a lengthy article on February 7 entitled: “Canadian officials still haven’t seen intelligence linking UN’s Gaza aid agency with Hamas: sources,” where he raised doubts as to the veracity of Israel’s evidence against UNRWA.

Three days later, the Israeli military released video footage revealing that it had uncovered a huge tunnel system directly underneath UNRWA’s head office in the Gaza Strip. The tunnel revealed a data centre, home to extensive technology aimed at helping Hamas maintain sophisticated communications systems underground.

Yet in the face of this enormous find, Dyer was silent, publishing no article on the subject, nor even acknowledging it on his personal account on X (formerly Twitter), which typically sees one to three posts per day.

Dyer was far from alone in casting aspersions on Israel’s allegations against UNRWA.

Shree Paradkar, the “social and racial justice columnist” at The Toronto Star who has published a string of anti-Israel commentaries since October 7 and whose social media produces nearly exclusively anti-Israel content, shared Dyer’s article, and quoted a brief snippet from the report.

But despite being a persistent social media user, days after the scandalous UNRWA tunnel find was made public, Paradkar was silent, ignoring the entire issue altogether.

Ignoring uncomfortable evidence has become somewhat of a pattern for Paradkar.

On January 11, she published a commentary in The Toronto Star, accusing Israel of killing “unprecedented numbers” of Palestinian journalists, but turning a blind eye to extensive evidence showing that large numbers of those ‘journalists’ had ties to Palestinian terrorist groups like Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ).

UNRWA’s connections to Palestinian terrorism stretch back many years, and despite Israel long calling for the United Nations agency to face scrutiny for its close ties to violent extremism, it long evaded accountability until recently.

And while commentators and journalists are well within their rights to argue that UNRWA serves an important humanitarian aid for the people living in the Gaza Strip. It is also eminently reasonable to ask what evidence Canada has relied on in suspending funding to the agency.

In the case of Evan Dyer and Shree Paradkar, however, failing to inform the public that Israel has uncovered a massive subterranean Hamas tunnel directly underneath UNRWA’s headquarters – the existence of which the agency could not have been ignorant – is the epitome of selective reporting.

We encourage you to send complaints directly to Evan Dyer at Evan.Dyer@cbc.ca or on his X account @EvanDyerCBC and Shree Paradkar at sparadkar@thestar.ca, or on her X account @ShreeParadkar.

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