The United Nation’s legal department “demanded” that Israel release an employee of the international body, who has been accused of aiding the Hamas terrorist organization in the Gaza Strip, Israel’s ambassador to the UN Danny Danon said.
Danon and Israel’s Foreign Ministry refused the request, calling the UN’s claims that the man has immunity from arrest “unfounded.”
“It is inconceivable that a man aiding a terrorist organization will enjoy UN immunity,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement Thursday.
Waheed Abd Allah Bossh, 38, an engineer in the UN’s Development Program, was arrested by the Shin Bet security service in July. He is suspected of funneling resources to the terrorist group.
According to the international organization, all UN employees are entitled to diplomatic immunity. The group’s legal department also demanded that UN officials have access to Bossh while he is being held in a Beersheba jail.
Citing Article 105 of the UN Charter, which Israel adopted in 1949, the world body’s legal department said in its letter that Bossh “enjoys immunity from personal arrest or detention, as well as immunity from legal process in respect of words spoken or written and acts done in performance of his mission.”
According to the UN legal department’s letter, another resolution allows the organization’s officials to investigate “the ground for the arrest or detention, including the main facts and formal charges, to enable him to assist the staff member.”
These claims — that Bossh is entitled to the rights of a UN official– are new ones, according to Israel’s Foreign Ministry.
“For the past two weeks, the UN aid agency has claimed that [Bossh] is a contractor who provides services for the organization, and that the UNDP relies upon the Israeli legal authorities and their abilities to investigate the truth,” the ministry said in a statement.
The UN letter, which referred to Beersheba by its Arabic name Ber asaabeaa, was sent to the Israeli delegation earlier this week.
After receiving the letter, these demands were “investigated by legal authorities” and found to be “unfounded,” the Foreign Ministry said.
Through his work as an engineer, Bossh allegedly directed the UNDP to work on projects that would benefit Hamas, including a naval base for the terrorist group’s military wing.
“In 2015, he helped build a marina for the use of the military arm of Hamas in the northern Gaza Strip, using UNDP resources,” the Shin Bet said.
The UN, however, claimed that the marina project had been directed by the Palestinian Authority, and not Hamas.
Bossh’s case came on the heels of another high-profile arrest of an international aid worker, Muhammad Halabi, head of operations for the World Vision charity.
According to the Shin Bet, Halabi helped funnel millions of dollars to Hamas over the years, as well as providing the group with resources and building material.
In light of the allegations against the humanitarian aid groups, Danon called for the United Nations and other organizations to bring in additional oversight for the funding that reaches the Gaza Strip to ensure that it reaches the residents who need it — and not terrorist groups.
“The UN and other organizations must implement a comprehensive reform of the humanitarian aid mechanism in Gaza,” Danon said in his statement Thursday.
“Any dollar spent, and any local hire by an international organization, must be monitored ensure they fulfill the purpose of aiding the residents of Gaza and not fund terror activities.”
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