Hamas denies allegation that UNRWA employee was elected to Hamas leadership

A tweet by Foreign Ministry Spokesman Emmanuel Nachshon alleged that Suheil al-Hindi, an UNRWA employee, was elected to the Hamas leadership.

February 24, 2017 03:17
2 minute read.

A Palestinian refugee knocks on the closed gate of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) headquarters with his walking stick. (photo credit: REUTERS)

A senior Hamas official denied on Friday an allegation made by the Foreign Ministry that Suheil al-Hindi, a United Nations Relief Works Agency employee, was elected to the Hamas leadership in Gaza.

“Suheil was not elected to any position nor did he participate in elections for any political party,” the senior Hamas official told The Jerusalem Post. “He has no position in Hamas.”

The Hamas official’s comments followed the publication of a tweet by Foreign Ministry Spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon, which alleged that Hindi, a member of UNRWA’s education staff and the head of the UNRWA employees’ union in Gaza, was elected to the Hamas leadership.

“INCREDIBLE BUT TRUE!! Dr. Sahil al Hindi, senior at #UNWRA Gaza, [was] appointed to #Hamas leadership. Maybe that's how #Hamas looks for funding?!?” Nahshon wrote on Twitter.

Reached by telephone, Nahshon said that he based his tweet on a report by the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, a think tank based north of Tel Aviv, which alleged in a report published on Thursday, without providing a source, that Hindi was elected to the Hamas leadership.

On February 13, the same day that Hamas announced the completion of its internal political leadership elections in the Gaza Strip, some Palestinian media outlets reported that Hindi was elected to the Hamas political leadership in the strip.

Hindi quickly responded, denying the reports and calling them inaccurate.

“I have no relation to that issue in any way and I will sue the parties that are throwing around my name on social media and new sites,” Hindi said in a statement.

UNRWA said the results of an internal investigation gives it no reason to believe the Foreign Ministry spokesman’s allegation.

“As soon as the allegations came to UNRWA’s attention, the Agency undertook a preliminary investigation, including discussing the allegations with the staff member. Based on the due diligence carried out by the Agency to date, UNRWA has neither uncovered nor received evidence to contradict the staff member’s denial that he was elected to political office,” Chris Gunness, an UNRWA spokesman said in an email late Thursday evening.

The Post was unable to reach Hindi to comment on this story.

According to UNRWA, its staff members are prohibited from holding political office because it could undermine the impartiality of the UN agency.

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