Left MEPs Forcing Removal of Cameras From Hearing on UNRWA Terror Ties

BRUSSELS, MARCH 18, 2024 — Leftist members of the European Parliament have caused the removal of cameras from a hearing tomorrow that will feature a watchdog group presenting findings concerning UNRWA ties to terrorism.

The Working Group on External Financial Instruments (WG EFIs) of the European Parliament’s foreign affairs committee will be meeting to address recent allegations against UNRWA staff, including questions around the agency’s impartiality and reputation, as well as possible repercussions from the current investigations.

“I have arrived in Brussels at the invitation of the European Parliament to present evidence tomorrow concerning UNRWA’s longstanding refusal to take seriously the widespread encouragement and promotion of terrorism by its school teachers, principals and other staff,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of the Geneva-based United Nations Watch, an independent non-governmental organization that monitors the world body.

“I was astonished to learn that members of the European Parliament representing the Left Group, the Greens/EFA and the Socialists and Democrats first tried to stop my testimony and the hearing, and when that failed, they have now initiated removal of cameras tomorrow to prevent my words from going public,” said Neuer.

“My understanding is that the removal of cameras is an extremely rare occurrence for this kind of hearing when the invited witness has not made the request, but rather the members of the working group of the foreign affairs committee.”

“Given that EU voters are paying more than 100 million Euro a year to UNRWA, one would think the taxpayers have a right to know how their funds are being used, and what they are funding. Forcing evidence to be hidden contradicts the basic democratic principles of transparency and accountability.”

“United Nations Watch calls on the MEPs from the Left Group, the Greens/EFA and the Socialists and Democrats to reconsider their position, and to allow my testimony to be available to the public.”

UNRWA Declines to Attend Hearing Tomorrow

The European Parliament had officially informed Neuer that an UNRWA representative was invited as well, in order to “continue an open and transparent dialogue on the matter.”

In the end, however, UNRWA has declined to send any speaker to tomorrow’s debate.

“I am surprised and disappointed, as I was looking forward to engaging with UNRWA about our findings of widespread and systematic promotion of terrorism by their staff, including a Telegram chat group of 3,000 UNRWA teachers in Gaza that celebrated the Hamas atrocities of October 7th,” said Neuer.

“If, as UNRWA insists, they take all allegations seriously, then why are they afraid to discuss them? Why are their surrogates trying to shut down the hearing, and now forcing the removal of cameras to block any public broadcast? What are UNRWA and its apologists trying to hide?”

UNRWA director Philippe Lazzarini travels often to meet with governments, and UNRWA has a designated lobbyist in Brussels, Marta Lorenzo, to solicit the EU’s annual funding.

The agency has not yet commented on why it declined an invitation to participate in a European Parliament hearing on how EU funds are being spent by UNRWA.

For 2021 to 2023, the EU’s contribution to UNRWA’s  budget amounted to €281 million.

UN Watch