A Hamas-affiliated sheikh in the Gaza Strip accused the United Nations of conspiring to increase the hardships of the Palestinian people, and alleged that UNRWA, the human development agency charged with providing relief for Palestinian refugees, was a corrupt organization which aided the enemies of the region’s Arab residents.
“We, the Palestinian people, must ask, ‘What were these nations united on? Were they united on oppressing the Palestinians, and increasing their torture and suffering?'” Marwan Abu Ras, a Hamas member of parliament, can be heard saying in an Al-Aqsa TV broadcast from a Friday sermon earlier this month, according to a translation provided by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).
“Don’t these united nations have anything better to do than deal with our cause?”
The religious leader went on to criticize UNRWA, which, he claimed, had become a “spearhead in support of all those fighting [the Palestinian] people.”
“One crime after another was perpetrated by this agency,” Abu Ras can be heard saying. He then adds that UNRWA executives had pocketed money given to them for the purpose of rehabilitating Palestinian refugees.
“Just imagine the cost of all their offices, cars and salaries of those foreigners. Unreal salaries! Legendary expenses! Financial corruption!” the sheikh cries.
“This is a conspiring United Nations,” he continues. “These countries have washed their hands of the Palestinian people.”
“By Allah, we do not want your agency,” Abu Ras concludes. “The thing our people hate the most is UNRWA.”
On August 5, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon warned that a $100 million shortfall in funding for UNRWA had placed the new school year for Palestinian refugee children in jeopardy.
However, the United Nations later said the academic year will start as scheduled, despite the funding crisis.