November 10, 2023 | Flash Brief

Hamas Terror Tunnel Next to UNRWA School in Gaza Destroyed

November 10, 2023 | Flash Brief

Hamas Terror Tunnel Next to UNRWA School in Gaza Destroyed

Latest Developments

A Hamas terror tunnel located adjacent to a Gaza school administered by the United Nations Relief and Works (UNRWA) was destroyed by Israeli forces on November 8. Hamas operatives have been building tunnels underneath UNRWA schools in the Mediterranean enclave for years, using the schools as human shields for terror activity. While UNRWA has condemned the construction of terror tunnels under its schools in the past, the UN agency has a history of employing staff who promote hatred and violence, including members of Hamas.

Expert Analysis

“UNRWA has allowed generations of Palestinians to be indoctrinated with antisemitism. This hatred is all the more deplorable in light of the atrocities of October 7, which can only be ascribed to a complete dehumanization of Jews and Israelis. UNRWA’s mandate has perpetuated and exacerbated the Palestinian refugee problem for 75 years. This agency has completely failed its mandate and should be defunded.” — Enia Krivine, Senior Director of FDD’s Israel Program and National Security Network

“The UN does not recognize Hamas, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad, or the PFLP as terrorist organizations, so the United States ends up subsidizing and enabling those groups through its support for UNRWA. This agency cannot be part of a post-Hamas Gaza for a durable peace to follow. Now is the moment to establish a new paradigm to be replicated everywhere UNRWA operates.” — Richard Goldberg, FDD Senior Advisor

“UNRWA is part of a collection of UN bodies created to nurture Palestinian grievances against Israel. Because of the welfare dependency UNRWA has helped create in Gaza, its services must be phased out gradually. Any solution that allows UNRWA to remain will perpetuate the Israeli-Palestinian conflict — not solve it.” — David May, FDD Research Manager and Senior Research Analyst

UNRWA Perpetuates the Palestinian Refugee Problem

UNRWA was established in 1949 to manage the Palestinians who became refugees during Israel’s War of Independence. At the time, there were an estimated 750,000 Palestinian refugees across the region, many of whom resided in Gaza. Yet UNRWA has perpetuated the Palestinian refugee myth by passing down the status of refugee from generation to generation. Today, there are 5.9 million people, living all over the world, registered with UNRWA as Palestinian “refugees,” the vast majority of whom have never fled a conflict. In 2021, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo revealed that fewer than 5 percent of “refugees” registered with UNRWA meet the criteria for a refugee designation.

UNRWA Curriculum and Staff Support Violence

IMPACT-se, an international research and policy organization that monitors and analyzes education around the world, has demonstrated that educational materials taught in UNRWA schools include materials that deny Israel’s legitimacy, incite antisemitism, and encourage violence and jihad. In a study published after the massacre of October 7, IMPACT-se documented the statements of more than a dozen UNRWA employees who publicly praised the atrocities and of more than a hundred UNRWA employees who promoted hatred and violence on social media prior to the attacks.

The U.S. Unconditionally Funds UNRWA

Under the leadership of former U.S. President Donald Trump, the United States cut funding to UNRWA in 2018, labeling the agency “irredeemably flawed.” President Biden unconditionally resumed funding UNRWA in 2021. In 2022, the United States contributed $344 million to the UN agency. If Washington intends to continue funding UNRWA, it should demand reforms, including ceasing to designate those born after 1949 as “refugees,” completing terror checks on its employees, and removing incitement from educational curricula.

Stop the UN from enabling Hamas war crimes,” by Richard Goldberg and Enia Krivine

United Nations’ Bigotry Towards Israel: UNRWA Anti-semitism Poisons Palestinian Youth,” Congressional Testimony by Jonathan Schanzer

Palestinian Terrorist Groups Continue to Build Tunnels Under UNRWA Schools,” FDD Flash Brief


International Organizations Israel Israel at War Palestinian Politics