As IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot said this week, Iranian assistance to Hamas is steadily rising. Last August, Hamas acknowledged that Iran is its greatest military and financial backer. In 2017, Iran transferred $70 million to the terrorist group.
Eisenkot said that in 2018, Iran intends to transfer $100m. to Hamas.
If Iran is Hamas’s greatest state sponsor, UNRWA is its partner. UNRWA is headquartered in Gaza. It is the UN’s single largest agency. It has more than 11,500 employees in Gaza alone. UNRWA’s annual budget is in excess of $1.2 billion. Several hundred million each year is spent in Gaza.
The US is UNRWA’s largest funder. In 2016, it transferred more than $368m. to UNRWA.
For the past decade, the Center for Near East Policy Research has copiously documented how UNRWA in Gaza is not an independent actor. Rather it is an integral part of Hamas’s regime in Gaza.
UNRWA underwrites the jihadist regime by paying for its school system and its healthcare system, among other things. Since 1999, UNRWA employees have repeatedly and overwhelmingly elected Hamas members to lead their unions.
In every major missile campaign Hamas has carried out against Israel since the group seized control of the Gaza Strip in 2007, UNRWA facilities have played key roles in its terrorist offensives. Missiles, rockets and mortars have been stored in and fired from UNRWA schools and clinics.
UNRWA teachers and students have served as human shields for Hamas missile launches against Israel.