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VIDEO: first hostages released by Hamas

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A roughly one minute video was circulated on X showing that the first group of hostages held by Hamas were released to the International Committee of the Red Cross on Friday afternoon local time.

The hostages were reportedly carried in Red Cross ambulances passing through the Rafah border crossing bound for Israel via Egypt after 49 days in captivity. If the deal continues without any escalation in the conflict, an additional 37 Israelis are expected to be released over the coming days as a cease-fire holds and humanitarian aid enters the Gaza Strip.

In exchange, Israel had agreed to release 150 Palestinian prisoners, all of whom are women and minors, currently being held on various levels of terror-related criminal offenses. Thirty-nine Palestinians are expected to be returned on the first day of the deal. A crowd waiting outside the Ofer prison in the West Bank to greet those released in the first tranche of the agreement were reportedly tear-gassed by Israeli security forces.

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, based in Qatar, vowed to uphold the deal, underscoring the terrorist group’s war aims. “Hamas will pursue its effort to halt the Israeli assault on Gaza, complete the prisoner exchange, end the Israeli blockade on the Gaza Strip and ‘attack’ on the Al-Aqsa Mosque in addition to enabling the Palestinian people to realize their legitimate national right for an independent state with Jerusalem as its capital, self-determination, and the return” of Palestinian refugees.

 

 

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Israel

Good Riddance to UNRWA as it Supports Hamas

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United Nations HQ

Follow Steve Postal: @HebraicMosaic

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The head of UNRWA recently accused Israel of waging an “expanded, concerted campaign” to destroy the UN agency. The leader of UNRWA does have a cause for concern, as Israel’s Defense Minister Yoav Gallant stated that UNRWA has “lost legitimacy and can no longer function as a UN body.” UN Watch’s Hillel Neuer stated that “The rot is systemic, and that’s why we’re holding a conference…to replace UNRWA.” And now Congressional Republicans are probing the Biden administration’s decision to restore US funding to UNRWA in 2021, following the Trump administration’s suspension of that funding in 2018.

Good riddance to UNRWA if it ends up folding under pressure; UNRWA and the UN are Hamas apologists at best, and facilitators at worst. For example, the UN’s Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator actually insisted that “Hamas is not a terrorist group for us,” but merely a “political movement.” And the UN’s Special Rapporteur on the Palestinian Territories, in a rejoinder to the French president calling the October 7 attack “the largest anti-Semitic massacre of our century,” stated that “No, Mr. Macron. The victims of [the October 7 attack] were not killed because of their Judaism, but in response to Israel’s oppression.”

UNRWA Employees Provide Material Support to Hamas, PIJ

Israeli Defense Minister Galant has named 12 specific UNRWA employees who “actively participated” in Hamas’ October 7 attack on Israel, and also stated that Israel has “significant indications based on intelligence” that implicates “over 30” additional UNRWA employees. Gallant stated that of UNRWA’s 13,000 staff in Gaza, “1,468 workers are known to be active in Hamas and PIJ, 185 UNRWA workers are active in the military branches of Hamas and 51 are active in the PIJ military branch.”

Additional to those numbers are the 30 UNRWA teachers known to have celebrated the October 7 attacks on a UNRWA Telegram group that had 3,000 members.

Hamas’ “Data Center” Found Underneath UNRWA Headquarters

Israel also found a Hamas “data center” under UNRWA’s headquarters in Gaza, equipped with an electrical room, computer servers and rooms where Hamas operatives could work and sleep, and that there were power lines connecting UNRWA’s headquarters to this data center. And surprise, some of the equipment found was made in Iran and China. Interestingly, while the Hamas “data center” contained electronics, a server room in the above-ground UNRWA headquarters had most of its electronics missing, which appears to be indicative of “actions of someone who knew the army was coming and wanted to hide the evidence,” according to Col. Benny Aharon of Israel’s 401st Armored Brigade. After the head of UNRWA denied that UNRWA knew of this data center ahead of time, Israel’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) tweeted “Oh, you knew,” and stated that Israel had warned UN officials about the data center but those officials chose to ignore those warnings.

Additional Evidence of Strong UNRWA/Hamas Partnership

Additionally, UN Watch cited instances of UNRWA/Hamas synergy, including that Israel found:

  • At the UNRWA headquarters above ground, weapons and “documents that indicated that the same offices were also used by Hamas”;
  • UNRWA aid bags in Yahya Sinwar’s bunker;
  • UNRWA concrete in Hamas’ tunnels that housed hostages;
  • Missiles and rockets under UNRWA equipment;
  • That Hamas stashed ammunition, explosives, and weapons in UNRWA bags, and that Hamas also had UN vests;
  • That Hamas stored weapons in and fired weapons from a UNRWA school; and
  • That Hamas’ “Ministry of Health” stole 24,000 gallons of fuel from UNRWA.

And to further emphasize the scope of how seriously UNRWA is compromised by Hamas, every single UNRWA “site, school, mosque, [and] kindergarten” that Israel has inspected had weapons, according to Israel’s commander of the 646th Reserve Paratroopers Brigade.

Calls to preserve UNRWA merely deflect away from the “systemic” “rot” found in the organization. Israel should make sure that UNRWA does not operate in any post-war Gaza, as the organization compromises the security of the Jewish state.

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