UNRWA Violations of Palestinian Children’s Rights and Media Bias on Hamas’s War
Kevin: And I’m so glad to welcome my guest, Brooke Goldstein, back. She’s the director of the Lawfare Project here in New York City. It is a think tank that focuses on exposing things that are robbing you of your freedom and others of theirs across the world, particularly in the manipulation of law. And, Brooke, it is good to have you with us back here in NY, back in the belly of the news beast.
Brooke: Kevin, thank you so much for having me. I appreciate it.
Kevin: The struggle in Hamas and the issue that Israel and the Palestinians have faced for the last, at least three or four weeks that the United States media attention has been focused on it has gone back and forth. Today, we’re in the midst of yet one more ceasefire, we don’t know if this is going to work, but for whatever reason, Israel has pulled all of their troops out. But there are some underlying stories to the conflict that have gone on here that not only the media have been, you know, less than diligent in reporting some of them have been overlooked altogether. And, I want to zero in on this issue of the United Nation schools because this has, this seems to me to be the real sticking points with pundits that get on the cable news channels. They say “Oh, well these UN schools are being bombed.” From your perspective and from the work that the Lawfare Project has done, how has the UN responded to those UN bombings?
Brooke: Well, I think it’s important that we put it in context. First of all, the United Nations has completely been in denial about their complicity in Hamas war crimes, and what do I mean by that? The United Nations agency, UNRWA, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency is the arm of the UN that is basically responsible for providing aid and education to what they call Palestinian refugees in Gaza, and in the West Bank, and in some parts of Jerusalem. And the United States is the largest single donor to UNRWA. Last year we gave them 130 million dollars, and what UNRWA has done is taken US taxpayer dollars and used them to educate Palestinian children towards violence and to directly expose those children to recruitment by Hamas as child soldiers, as suicide bombers, and as human shields. And what we are seeing now in the current war in Gaza is Israel discovering how UNRWA schools were not only used to store Hamas rockets – three UNRWA schools were storing Hamas rockets – but they were also used as launching pads for Hamas that used the staff and children as human shields and they were also used to conceal the entrance of terror tunnels which were going to be used by Hamas, as is widely reported, to infiltrate Israel and kill and kidnap Israeli civilians. One of the terror tunnels that the IDF discovered actually ended up at a kindergarten, at an Israeli kindergarten. You can only imagine what was going to happen there. So, the United Nations agency is directly complicit in aiding and abetting the war crimes by Hamas, and yet Ban Ki-Moon has not once –
Kevin: Okay hold on, hold on, because I want to slow down to speed up. Just for people that are just tuning in because Brooke is genius smart and she goes really fast. What you’re telling us is that Hamas didn’t just, oh by the way, toss off a rocket or two here at an UNRWA school. You’re saying that the contributions that the United States gave to the UNRWA organization was used in these instances, in these cases, in these schools to willfully store those weapons, but also to willfully indoctrinate and educate children towards terrorism. If I heard you correctly, you said that in your first answer there.
Brooke: Exactly. I mean this is not an incident. I mean what we’re seeing now is the culmination of years and years of cooperation between UNRWA and between the designated terrorist group and the illegal use of US taxpayer dollars to indoctrinate and expose toxicity in children towards violence. A couple years ago, UNRWA even admitted publicly to hiring members of the Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorist group so that they can be “teachers” and thereby provide direct access for Hamas and for Islamic Jihad to recruit Palestinian children as suicide bombers, as child soldiers, and as human shields from the UNRWA schools that we are paying for. UNRWA has taught from a curriculum, again from US tax payer dollars, that reveres suicide homicide bombing that teaches Palestinian children that the greatest thing that they should aspire to is to engage in violence, to kill Jews, to kill Israelis, and this type of curriculum plus the exposure of these children directly to Hamas which has, by the way, staged summer military training camps at UNRWA facilities, has now culminated where in the current conflict Hamas is able to use UNRWA schools, as you mentioned, as rocket depos and as launching pads for rockets. And one of those schools even was found to have been built with explosives in the actual walls of the school. So, when US taxpayer dollars were being sent to UNRWA to physically build these compounds, they were building them as booby traps that were meant to be exploded to kill the teachers and the students inside should anyone discover the rocket depos or should anyone discover the tunnel entrance. The crime that UNRWA is committing, forget the crimes against Israeli civilians, but the aiding and abetting of the premeditated murder of innocent Palestinian children, there is no more crime, there is no crime that is more abhorrent or egregious than this.
Kevin: We’re talking with Brooke Goldstein of the Lawfare Project and I encourage you, as always, to be in touch with them. They are doing excellent work on protecting our liberties, particularly in ways that we may not be aware of, but necessarily we need to have attention brought to. And today we’re talking about the UNRWA, the UN schools in the part of Gaza where we’ve seen some of the actions, the violence, the horrors of war take place over these last few weeks, and you’ve heard a lot on the media talking about how Israel is conducting these, these random, you know, they make it seem as though it’s a completely thoughtless types of response to Hamas rockets. Brooke, I’ve been to Israel – was there my first time last year – and I’m leading a trip this October. I know that Israel, as a developed nation, is tracking where every one of the rockets comes from and that’s the exact places that they’re going there to, to try to disarm and that has lead them to some of these schools. I want you to speak to this, though, the idea that the Hamas and Islamic Jihad groups that are associated with the Palestinian cause in Gaza. The fact that US taxpayers are paying money for this, how complicit is the UN for either not knowing about it or not acknowledging it and how complicit is the media in not reporting this very significant context for the violence that we’re seeing on our TV screens?
Brooke: Well, first of all I want to say, just to correct something earlier, Hamas and Islamic Jihad doesn’t represent the Palestinian cause. What we are seeing right now in Gaza is the largest terrorist hostage siege in human history where the innocent Palestinian people of Gaza are being held hostage by a vicious Islamist terrorist group that is theologically motivated to wage a violent jihad against the West and has publically admitted that it will kill its own civilians in the process, so in no way does Hamas or Islamic Jihad represent the Palestinian people. Now, in terms of the complicity, it is very difficult to imagine that UNRWA is completely unaware of what is going on in its schools. In fact, UNRWA officials have, like I had mentioned before, publicly admitted to hiring Hamas teachers off the payroll, they have admitted publicly that their schools are being used as launching pads, they publicly stated that there are rocket depos, they publicly admitted handing those rockets over to Hamas. So, UNRWA is one hundred percent intentionally engaged in the premeditated murder of innocent civilians and aiding and abetting Hamas. In terms of the United States, it is very disappointing to know that several laws are being broken. There are several federal laws that regulate how monies can be spent vis-à-vis the Palestinians. There are federal statutes that prevent any type of US funds going towards assisting terrorist activities or to assist a refugee that is receiving military training. We have material support against terrorism statutes. Hamas is a designated terrorist group. Any type of financial support that goes to aid and abet Hamas is illegal. You cannot use US taxpayer dollars to do this and yet, nothing is being done to make sure that the State Department follows the law. In fact, Obama just announced a fifteen million dollar grant to UNRWA despite the fact that we know that there is a plethora of evidence that that money will not go to assist the Palestinian people on the ground. It will be siphoned by Hamas, like every other dollar has, and it will be used by UNRWA to further punish and engage in collective punishment against the Palestinian people. It is abhorrent that Congress has not written up an Appropriations Bill more stringent oversight and regulations to guarantee that the State Department does not continue to use US taxpayer dollars in such a vicious manner.
Kevin: And if you’re just joining us, Brooke said at the beginning of this interview that the tune of 130 million did you say US tax dollars?
Brooke: Last year, last year alone, 130 million dollars were given to UNRWA and yet none of that money, none of that money, was used to properly benefit the Palestinian people. The majority of that money was used to, like I said, provide education to Palestinian children that teaches them to become suicide bombers and child soldiers and expose them directly to Hamas.
Kevin: She is the director, the executive director of the Lawfare Project. And Brooke, for people that are not familiar, please do a little commercial. Tell them about what your group does.
Brooke: I run a legal think tank called the Lawfare Project and we expose how the legal system is being manipulated to basically undermine the interest of democracy and undermine human rights. You can visit us online at thelawfareproject.org. We also have a movie that we coproduced with the Center for Near East Policy Research called Camp Jihad. It’s available on the front page of our website. You can see first-hand evidence of the type of education that Palestinian children are receiving with your taxpayer dollars at UNRWA schools and we’ve also uploaded on that same link a PDF of a very comprehensive document that was delivered to Congress, basically outlining everything that I mentioned in this call and outlining the federal laws that are being violated with continued unbridled funding to UNRWA.
Kevin: And we hope our lawmakers will in fact take heed to that, for much more information – it is thelawfareproject.org. and Brooke it’s always a pleasure to have you with us. Thank you for fighting the good fight and being diligent on the front lines.
Brooke: Kevin, thank you so much for taking the time to expose this issue. You know, if your audience was to leave with one point, it would be that Palestinian children are innocent, they do not deserve to be taught a curriculum of violence, they do not deserve to be exposed to the terrorist group, Hamas. We have to stop this form of child abuse immediately. We must hold Congress and the State department responsible.
Kevin: Absolutely. Brooke Goldstein, thelawfareproject.org. Thanks for being here.