The ambulances-for-terrorists scandal

Michelle Malkin

6/2/2004 12:00:00 AM - Michelle Malkin

 The United Nations and Red Cross have been providing cover for terrorists -- literally. And American taxpayers are footing some of the bill.

 Last week, an Israeli television station aired footage of armed Arab terrorists in southern Gaza using an ambulance owned and operated by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA). Palestinian gunmen used the UNRWA emergency vehicle as getaway transportation after murdering six Israeli soldiers in Gaza City on May 11. The footage shows two ambulances with flashing lights pull onto a street. Shots and shouts ring out during the nighttime raid. A gang of militants piles into one of the supposedly neutral ambulances, clearly marked "U.N." with the agency's blue flag flying from the roof, which then speeds away from the scene.

 AccessMiddleEast.org, a nonprofit global news monitoring service, posted the video (shot by a Reuters TV cameraman) on its Web site last week.  To date, Access Middle East managing director Richard Bardenstein in Israel informs me, not a single U.S. television news station has expressed interest in showing the footage to American viewers.

 Why should we care? Because since 1950, the U.S. has provided UNRWA with $2.5 billion in taxpayer subsidies -- about one-third of the relief agency's total budget. And because instead of investigating this latest black eye-inducing scandal, the U.N. is blasting American troops for defending themselves against such outrageous tactics -- now being emulated by Iraqi guerrilla warriors sniping at our men and women from ambulances in Fallujah.

 International relief officials are in stubborn denial about the abuse of their emergency vehicles and hospital credentials by terrorists. They claim the videotaped May 11 ambulance-assisted attack was an isolated incident and that the driver was forced to transport the gunmen. But this ambulances-for-terrorists program has been going on for years. And "humanitarian" workers have been willing collaborators.

 According to the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center at the Center for Special Studies (CSS), senior UNRWA employee Nahed Rashid Ahmed Attalah confessed to using his official U.N. vehicle to bypass security and smuggle arms, explosives, and terrorists to and from attacks. He was in charge of distributing food supplies to Palestinian refugees. Nidal 'Abd al-Fataah 'Abdallah Nizal, a Hamas activist, worked as an UNRWA ambulance driver and admitted he had used an emergency vehicle to transport munitions to terrorists.

 U.N. vehicles aren't the only ones being used by terrorists. An intensive care ambulance carrying the acronym of the Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) was used to deliver an explosive belt found underneath a stretcher on which a sick child was lying in spring 2002. Female suicide bomber Wafa Idris, who blew herself up in a January 2002 attack in Jerusalem, was a medical secretary for the PRCS. Her recruiter was an ambulance driver for the same organization. PRCS receives financial support from governments and organizations around the world, including the American Red Cross and International Committee of the Red Cross.

 The UNRWA has long been suspected of providing aid and comfort to terrorists. Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va., chairman of the Congressional Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare, recently documented how "buildings and warehouses under UNRWA supervision are allegedly being used as storage areas for Palestinian ammunition and counterfeit currency factories." Cantor's 2002 report also noted that UNRWA hosts summer camps in martyrdom for young terrorists-in-training. Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., has also lobbied for increased scrutiny of UNRWA funding, which has been used to publish anti-Semitic textbooks and posters in schools that "glorify homicide bombers and the slaughter of innocents."

 Moreover, according to Rep. Smith, a UNRWA school hosted a Hamas rally by a key Hamas leader in July 2001 and another UNRWA employee praised homicide bombers, proclaiming: "The road to Palestine passes through the blood of the fallen, and these fallen have written history with parts of their flesh and their bodies."

 While jihadists gain shelter in its emergency vehicles, the U.N. continues to lambaste the U.S. for assorted wartime "atrocities." Not one more American dime should go to fund the bloody self-righteousness of the world's most generous terrorist relief organization.