Israeli Ambassador Claims Hamas Has Taken Over UN Aid Agency

UNRWA Spokesman Mocks "Mixed Messages" About Aid Workers

In an interview with the Austrian weekly “Profil,” Israeli Ambassador to Austria and Slovenia Dan Ashbel declared that the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) “has been taken over by Hamas and is being used as a weapon against its own people.”

The UNRWA is the primary organization responsible for transporting humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip, though it briefly halted such shipments last week after the Israeli military attacked and killed one of their drivers. Israel expressed regret for the death and promised not to target them again, a confusing position to take if Ambassador Ashbel’s claims were true. The fact is not lost of UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness.

Yesterday [they] expressed deep regret about the death of our workers and urged us to resume our humanitarian work as soon as possible. And yet today an Israeli ambassador is accusing those very same workers of being terrorists,” Gunness insisted, accusing Israel of “mixed messages.”

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.