Former Diplomats, In Globe & Mail Commentary, Whitewash UNRWA Connections To Hamas

March 7, 2024

Lloyd Axworthy and Allan Rock, both part of the World Refugee and Migration Council and a former Canadian foreign minister and a former Canadian ambassador to the United Nations, respectively, penned a commentary in the Globe and Mail on March 4 where they called for Ottawa to fund UNRWA, the disgraced United Nations agency with extensive ties to Hamas.

In their commentary entitled: “Airdrops are showy, but they do little for the people of Gaza,” they stated that “what is urgently needed, of course, is a ceasefire, coupled with the return of the Israeli hostages held by Hamas since its horrendous attacks in southern Israel on October 7, together with unimpeded access for the hundreds of truckloads of essential supplies required in Gaza daily.”

There is a humanitarian crisis in Gaza, although not quite of the proportions Axworthy and Rock describe. In stating that “2.2 million Palestinians trapped without food, water or medical supplies” they neglected to mention that there is water, food and medical supplies in Gaza, and images show that at least in some markets, food is available and streets are bustling, unsurprising given that 15,000 aid trucks have entered Gaza since the war began.

Instead of analyzing the source of the humanitarian crisis, a simplistic ceasefire is mentioned as the only option, as if it would accomplish anything at all.

Hamas ended the ceasefire already in existence on October 7 with its brutal attack on Israel, part of its longer practice of breaking humanitarian ceasefires with Israel. In Operation Protective Edge in 2014, for instance, the group fired numerous rockets at Israeli civilians on multiple occasions after ceasefires had been declared, including ceasefires of its own initiation.

Hamas is a genocidal Islamic terror organization elected to rule Gaza in 2006, whose leader, Yahye Sinwar, called the massacres of October 7 just “a rehearsal”, and whose charter calls for the destruction of Israel, and instead proposes to have an Islamic State-style caliphate rule in its place. A humanitarian ceasefire is not part of their vernacular.

Hamas deliberately perpetuates the noncombatant suffering in Gaza by using their own electorate as human shields, including the use of hospitals, and for example, with tunnel entrances being found in residential settings, including in a school operated by UNRWA.

The pair wrote that UNRWA’s role in Gaza must be “fully understood,” but then failed to give a full picture of UNRWA. Their schools teach Palestinian children hatred of Jews, depict Jews as enemies of Islam and promote Jihad, and according to Israel, 12 percent of UNRWA’s staff are directly affiliated with Hamas. Freed Israeli hostages report that UN staff, including a doctor and a teacher, participated in keeping watch over the captives.

Video footage shows a UN social worker loading the body of hostage Jonathan Samerano into an UNRWA vehicle. On an UNRWA social media group with 3000 members, October 7 was celebrated and members called for the execution of the hostages. It is shocking that the authors neglected to mention any of this. Calling for the Canadian government to fund UNRWA is calling for them to fund Hamas terror. This has to stop. Other routes must be found for aid to reach Gaza.

Axworthy and Rock again take a decontextualized approach when saying that “Israeli forces opened fire on people surrounding aid trucks.” Untold by the authors, Israel claims that the overwhelming majority of the Palestinian casualties occurred due to a stampede in the crowd’s pursuit of humanitarian aid, and as Israel contends, that the aid trucks ran over these Palestinians. Israel strenuously denies allegations made by the Hamas terror group that its forces shot and killed more than 100 Palestinians.

Axworthy and Rock are concerned for the residents of Gaza, and rightly so, but empowering Hamas by supporting UNRWA is no solution for Gazans, whose lives Hamas plays with so carelessly. The context in the Hamas-Israel war is not only important for accuracy, but for the safe future of both sides.

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