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Hamas Takeover of UNRWA

Worker Union Elections

  • 2009 elections (teachers, services, officials). Hamas, Islamic Jihad, PLO (Fatah, PFLP and the People Party) and independents took part in elections.
  • Hamas won 17 seats out of 27 (63%). Suhail al-Hindi, senior Hamas figure, was re- elected to head the union.

Suhail al-Hindi

  • Speech to middle school students in Jebalya (2001) – “The path to Palestine is passing through the blood of the martyrs. The students who become martyrs are shaping the history with their (blowing) body parts.
  • Called students to follow the way of the suicide bombers.
  • Sheik Ahmad Yassin attended the event.

Belated and Futile Reaction

  • 2011 – UNRWA suspended al-Hindi, but under the pressure of Hamas and workers’ union retreated its decision.

Siding with Terrorists

  • October 12, 2011 – UNRWA employees were instructed to leave their work place and join a rally in support of the “Palestinian prisoners” Israeli jail.
  • Abdallah Barghouti – convicted of killing of 67 Israelis.

“We Will Return”

  • Message for 63 Nakba ceremonies:
  • The return becomes closer than ever
  • We teach our sons that this land and soil is sacred and belongs to us
  • We shall not forget Palestine and the occupier is inevitably in his way to demise

“Burn the Maps”

  • Head of UNRWA’s teachers sector: Remove with no delay any copy of the maps from UNRWA’s schools, principles and teachers are asked to burn the maps and to teach students the borders of historical Palestine.

Greenhouse for Radicalism

  • Al-Kutla al-Islamiya, literally the Islamic block, is Hamas official arm operating in all educational institutions in the Gaza Strip, from elementary schools to colleges and universities, including the educational institutions run by UNRWA.
  • Strategy – strengthening the bonds with the students as well as their belief in Islam, and exposing them gradually to Hamas ideology in order to make them active members of the Islamic movement.

Modus Operandi

  • In each school, including those run by UNRWA, Hamas appointed a student to head al-Kutla local branch, who operates as point of contact for Hamas and responsible for recruiting students to the Kutla and organizing activities inside school and after-school.
  • Creating children bombers

Islamic Block’s Activities

  • Festival of Excellence
  • Knowledge competition
  • Commemorating Hamas leaders
  • Sport tournaments
  • Entertainment
  • Memorizing Koran
  • Islamic indoctrination
  • Leaflets
  • Girls Military Camp

Repeated Pattern

  • Participating in al-Kutla’s activities during middle school
  • Becoming active member of Hamas
  • Swearing allegiance to the Muslim Brotherhood
  • Joining al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas

Haitham Abd al-Hafez Abd al-Aal

  • Abd al-Aal graduated from the al-Fallah elementary and middle school (UNRWA) and al-Nil high school. He was active in al-Kutla al-Islamiya beginning in middle school.
  • He attended al-Mujama al-Islami
  • Mosque where he was recruited by Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood.
  • In 2003, he joined the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’ military wing. He participated in combat against IF forces (including firing RPG rockets).
  • He also served in the Palestinian Police.
  • On January 15, 2009 he was targeted while preparing to attack IDF forces in the Tel al-Islam in Gaza.

Imad Maher Farwaneh

  • Farwaneh graduated from UNRWA schools and Khalil al-Wazir high school.
  • He became an activist in al-Kutla al-Islamiya as early as middle school.
  • He attended the al-Barra bin ‘Azeb Mosque in al-Sabra neighborhood, where he was recruited by Hamas.
  • Later, he joined al-Qassam Brigades. He was killed by the Israeli Air Force while attempting to ambush IDF forces.

Amu Mohammad Nassar

  • Participated in al-Kutla’s activities while studying at UNRWA schools in Nusera.
  • Recruited to Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood and later joined al-Qassam Brigades. He was killed by an Israeli Air Force strike aimed at a group of Izz al-Din al-Qassam operatives

Issa Abd al-Hadi al-Batran

  • He graduated UNRWA’s elementary and middle schools in al-Bureij and later became a teacher at UNRWA’s schools.
  • In 1989 he joined Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood and in early 90s al-Qassam Brigades.

Awad al-Qig

  • Teacher and educator at UNRWA’s schools, Head of Islamic Jihad military manufacturing unit

Zuheir al-Qaisi

  • Commander of the Palestinian terrorist organization “Popular Resistance Committees”
  • Former teacher at UNRWA’s schools

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