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US Stops funding UN Body after discovering it’s Employees were Involved in Hamas Attack on Israel on October 7

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The Biden administration declared on Friday that it will be suspending funding to the UN agency in charge of Palestinian refugees due to claims that 12 employees of the agency participated in Hamas’s attacks on Israel on October 7.

Referring to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), a U.N. organization tasked with providing assistance to Palestinian refugees in the Gaza Strip, State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said in a statement that “the United States is extremely troubled by the allegations that twelve UNRWA employees may have been involved in the October 7 Hamas terrorist attack on Israel.”

“While we examine these accusations and the actions the UN is taking to address them, the Department of State has temporarily paused additional funding for UNRWA.”

In October, the Biden administration sent $75 million to UNRWA, circumventing a congressional embargo on the funding due to the U.N. agency’s objections, which included worries that the organization hired Hamas members.

In response to information provided by Israeli authorities, UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini announced on Friday that the organization was opening an investigation into staff members. The attack involved fighters from Hamas raiding southern Israel, where they killed an estimated 1,200 people and kidnapped 240 more, more than 100 of whom are still in captivity and unable to communicate.

According to Lazzarini, the agency promptly canceled the suspects’ contracts in order to begin its inquiry.

Lazzarini declared, “Any UNRWA staff member who participated in acts of terror will be held accountable, including through criminal prosecution.”

“UNRWA calls for the immediate and unconditional release of all Israeli hostages and their safe return to their families and reiterates its strongest condemnation of the heinous attacks of October 7.”

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In addition to serving Palestinians in the West Bank, Jordan, and Lebanon, the organization offers vital assistance and services to those in the Gaza Strip. Among the amenities are lodging, food, kitchenware, educational opportunities, and medical care.

Humanitarian organizations working to assist Palestinians under fire in Israel’s conflict with Hamas have deemed the UNRWA to be a vital organization. A dire humanitarian situation is unfolding amid widespread destruction, mass displacement, and starvation predictions. The Gaza Health Agency, administered by Hamas, has reported over 60,000 injuries and 26,000 deaths. Its figures do not differentiate between soldiers and civilians.

Following Israel’s 1948 War of Independence, the United Nations agency for Palestinians was founded and provided services to an estimated 700,000 Palestinian refugees. However, the group now serves original refugees’ descendants as well as their families.

For a long time, Israel and its allies have been sharply critical of UNRWA, claiming that the organization uses teaching materials that propagate antisemitism and deny Israel’s right to exist, and that it works with or is affiliated with terrorist organizations designated by the United States, such as Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza.

In 2018, the financing for UNRWA was slashed by former President Trump. Biden administration brought it back.

At a press conference, UNRWA spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric announced that the organization has received approximately $280 million in help following an emergency appeal for approximately $481 million that was started at the end of December, in addition to $90 million for urgent needs.

According to Dujarric, UNRWA’s role is still vital even as the claims are being looked into.

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In a press conference with reporters, Dujarric stated, “There are hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of thousands of people in Gaza who rely on UNRWA’s humanitarian work, who rely on humanitarian assistance, even more now than they did before.”

“I believe that the Commissioner General acted immediately and with great force. We must, however, carry on with our humanitarian efforts. Lives are at stake.


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