Over 70 policy experts, activists and former lawmakers sent a scathing message to Congress Monday, demanding that the United States permanently withdraw its funding from the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) after multiple employees were found to have aided Hamas, according to a letter obtained exclusively by the Daily Caller News Foundation.
In January, UNRWA announced that it had fired multiple employees after a leaked report found they may have helped Hamas attack Israel on Oct. 7, resulting in multiple countries, including the U.S., temporarily pulling funding. Advancing American Freedom, a conservative policy organization founded by former Vice President Mike Pence, sent the letter to Republican Speaker of the House Mike Johnson, Democratic Minority Leader Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, Democratic Majority Leader Sen. Charles Schumer and Republican Minority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell. (RELATED: Biden Admin Gave Over A Billion To UN Agency It Just Cut Ties With Over Terror-Linked Staffers)
“The United States can no longer fund UNRWA with a clean conscience. For years, the American people were told a litany of lies aimed at creating a false understanding of UNRWA as simply a humanitarian organization that needed the hard-earned tax dollars of the American people to provide services for millions of Palestinians misleadingly characterized as ‘refugees,'” the letter says.
The letter was signed by activists and former government officials, including David Friedman, former U.S. ambassador to Israel, Penny Nance, CEO of Concerned Women of America, Bonnie Glick, former deputy administer of United States Agency for International Development and Matt Brooks, CEO of the Republican Jewish Coalition. The signees argued that after reports revealed thousands of agency employees celebrated the attack on Israel any future funding would cross a “red line.”
“Not one cent of American taxpayer money should ever again be used to directly or indirectly support UNRWA. Congress must defund UNRWA in the next appropriations vehicle that becomes law,” the letter says.
A leaked dossier from Israeli intelligence officials released on Jan. 28 accused nearly 1,200 UNRWA employees of having connections to Hamas, or the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and nine were reportedly dismissed, according to The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. The report claimed that several employees received texts telling them to go to points of contact on Oct. 7, while another was asked to bring grenades that were allegedly at his home.
Two UNRWA teachers reportedly held an elderly Israeli woman and a young boy hostage separately, according to the Washington Free Beacon. UNRWA recently called for public donations after the United Kingdom, Italy, Canada and Austria withdrew their funding as well, saying that the money was desperately needed to help Palestinians in Gaza.
The U.S. donated over $1 billion since 2021 after President Joe Biden lifted former President Donald Trump’s decision to bar the U.S. from funding the agency due to concerns about ties to terrorism. Lawmakers proposed legislation in 2023 to halt more funding to the agency after reports found that taxpayers’ dollars often fell into the hands of Palestinian terrorist groups, including Hamas, but the bill did not make it out of Senate committees.
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