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U.N. Hires Israel Critic and Wife of Former Arafat Aide to Run Gaza Humanitarian Assistance

Sigrid Kaag, Netherlands finance minister. Bloomberg
Sigrid Kaag, Netherlands finance minister. Bloomberg

On Tuesday, the United Nations announced the appointment of Dutch Finance Minister Sigrid Kaag, to be the new Humanitarian and Reconstruction Coordinator for Gaza. According to a U.N. statement the new position will be expected to, "facilitate, coordinate, monitor and verify humanitarian relief consignments to Gaza."

Kaag, 62, who has served as a politician in the Netherlands and as a U.N. official, is married to Anis al-Qaq, a former deputy to PLO leader Yasser Arafat.

The appointment, which is scheduled to commence on Jan. 8, may generate some controversy as the soon to be incumbent has a history of displaying criticism towards Israel.

In a 1996 interview, Kaag described Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as having “racist, demagogic overtones,” and suggested that Jewish West Bank residents were “illegal colonists on confiscated land.”

More recently, in 2020, while Kaag was serving as the Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, it came to light that her organization was funding the salaries of the Palestinian Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC), that employed two individuals indicted for the 2019 murder of 17-year-old Israeli, Rina Schnerb. The UAWC was reported to have close ties with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a designated terror group in the E.U.

The Jerusalem based NGO Monitor, disclosed that Kaag’s office continued to fund the UAWC despite repeated warnings of its terrorist affiliations.

When invited by local Jewish organizations to speak at this year’s Kristallnacht commemoration, the minister condemned the Oct. 7 Hamas attack, but then insinuated that the IDF was violating international humanitarian law with their operational conduct.

The U.S. State Department welcomed the appointment in a statement saying, “We look forward to coordinating closely with Ms. Kaag and the U.N. Office for Project Services on efforts to accelerate and streamline the delivery of life-saving humanitarian relief to Palestinian civilians in Gaza.”

Related Story: United Nations Secretary General Blames Israel for Palestinian Terrorism

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