UN says employee accused of helping Hamas has diplomatic immunity


(JTA) — The United Nations “demanded” the release of an employee being held by Israel on suspicion of working for Hamas, saying its employees have diplomatic immunity.

In a letter issued this week seeking the release of Waheed Abd Allah Bossh, the U.N. legal department also said U.N. officials should be allowed to meet with Bossh, 38, an engineer in the world body’s Development Program.

Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, Danny Danon, said in a statement Thursday that Israel is denying the request, The Times of Israel reported.

“We do not grant immunity to terrorists trying to harm our citizens,” Danon said in the statement.

Israel’s Shin Bet security service arrested Bossh in July, accusing him of diverting resources to Hamas in Gaza. He is being held in a Beersheba jail.

While working for the United Nations, Bossh allegedly had the development project work on infrastructure sought by Hamas, such as a naval base for the terrorist group’s military wing, according to the Shin Bet.

“In 2015, he helped build a marina for the use of the military arm of Hamas in the northern Gaza Strip using UNDP resources,” the Shin Bet said.

The U.N., however, said the marina project was requested by the Palestinian Authority rather than Hamas, according to The Times of Israel.

Earlier this summer another international aid worker, Muhammad Halabi, head of operations for the World Vision charity, was charged with funneling millions of dollars to Hamas.

In his statement, Danon called on the United Nations to bring in additional oversight for funding in Gaza.

“Any dollar spent, and any local hire by an international organization, must be monitored to ensure they fulfill the purpose of aiding the residents of Gaza and not fund terror activities,” he said.

Recommended from JTA