First lawsuit seeking accountability of UNRWA’s involvement on October 7 filed

The lawsuit is on behalf of survivors of the massacre and relatives of the victims


A first lawsuit has been filed against UNRWA seeking accountability for their alleged involvement in October 7 terrorist attacks. (Pictured) A Palestinian woman walks past the UNRWA headquarters in Gaza City, 29 November, 2021 (Photo by MOHAMMED ABED/AFP Getty Images)

The first lawsuit seeking to provide accountability for UNRWA’s involvement in the October 7 massacre has been filed in Delaware on behalf of a group of survivors.

National Jewish Advocacy Center led the federal complaint against the charity UNRWA USA, which supports the work of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine (UNRWA) through “fundraising, education, and advocacy in the United States.” It is the largest private donor to UNRWA.

The lawsuit follows evidence that UNRWA staff actively participated in the murder and abduction of Israelis on October 7.

The lawsuit describes how UNRWA USA materially supported terrorism by systematically using the non-profit to “operate a terrorist-financing scheme in violation of federal law and thereby misleading its donors, the United States government, and the international community”.

It alleges that UNRWA USA “has been and is fully aware that UNRWA works with and for Hamas, providing operational and financial support for their activities, and UNRWA USA aids, abets, and provides material support for those activities under the guise of humanitarian assistance.”

Plaintiffs in the case include survivors of the massacre; relatives of those who did not survive; displaced families whose homes were destroyed; and victims such as Lishay Lavi, whose husband Omri Miran was kidnapped by Hamas. They seek unspecified damages and a determination that UNRWA USA breached its legal obligations under federal anti-terror laws.

NJAC worked with attorneys from Finger & Slanina, the Law Office of David I. Schoen, Goldfeder & Terry, the International Legal Forum, and Holtzman Vogel Baran Torchinsky & Josefiak.

David Finger, of Finger and Slanina, said in a statement that the case was “long overdue”.

He said: “Delaware’s Attorney General should move to revoke UNWRAS’s status as Delaware corporation. Delaware should not tolerate its corporations being used to facilitate violence, terror, and savagery.”

Arsen Ostrovsky, attorney and CEO of The International Legal Forum, which is working with NJAC in this case, noted that, “UNRWA has become an inseparable arm of Hamas and a systematic incubator of hate, incitement, and terror. We are not talking about ‘a few rotten apples.’ The entire organisation is rotten to the core and infested with terror. As their primary non-governmental fundraising platform in the United States, UNRWA USA must be held accountable for helping underwrite the mass slaughter, rape and abductions by Hamas on October 7th.”

David Schoen, attorney for the plaintiffs, explained that “from its inception, UNRWA has been a major part of the problem in the Middle East, through its internal corruption, its promotion of educational materials in Palestinian schools that promote and glorify terrorism, and its direct involvement with and material support for Hamas and other terrorist organisations, including the commission of terrorist actions and the use of its offices and resources to conceal terrorist activities.

"Disgracefully, UNRWA has been granted immunity and so it acts with impunity. This case is vitally important in the effort to bring some measure of justice to these victims, by cutting off one source of funding – hopefully an important first step toward the elimination of UNRWA.”

UNRWA USA has been approached for comment.

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