Report: UN Staff Flee Gaza After Being Threatened by Palestinian Coworkers

Tuesday, October 02, 2018 |  Israel Today Staff

They say don't bite the hand that feeds you.

Palestinian groups like Hamas have failed to internalize that lesson, or actively defy it in service to greater chaos and suffering, which in turn serves something far darker.

Those learning the real lesson today are the international officials who naively believed that humanitarian, financial and academic assistance would moderate the Palestinians and help foster peace. They are learning quite pointedly why Israel has had such difficulty concluding any kind of meaningful agreement with those calling the shots in Palestinian society.

Palestinian refugees have it better than any other refugees on earth, in more than one way. Most notably, they have their own dedicated UN agency, UNRWA.

But on Monday, the foreign staff manning UNRWA's offices in Gaza were reportedly fleeing across the border to Israel following threats of violence by their own Palestinian coworkers.

After US President Donald Trump decided Palestinian refugees should no longer be handled differently than any other refugees and halted American funding of UNRWA, the agency had to slim down its operations, including laying off a great many local staff members. Despite being the recipients of more foreign financial aid per capita than Europe received under the Marshall Plan following World War II, the Palestinians have failed to create a viable economy, and so rely heavily on jobs provided by their own government or foreign NGOs.

And so, according to a report by AFP, the Palestinian staff at UNRWA started threatening the foreign staff, despite the fact that the situation was not of their making.

UNRWA itself was careful not to blame the local Palestinians (lest it jeopardize its ability to operate in Hamas-controlled Gaza), and instead released a statement vaguely revealing that "a number of staff were harassed and prevented from carrying out their duties. Some of these actions have specifically targeted the UNRWA management in Gaza."

The Israel Defense Ministry confirmed that it had opened Gaza's sealed border crossings to "evacuate" the UNRWA staff to the Jewish state.

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