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51 US bipartisan lawmakers urge sanctions against UNRWA workers involved in Oct 7 attack

(Photo: Screenshot/KAN 11)

Fifty-one bipartisan members of the U.S. House of Representatives have expressed "deep concern" over the United States' delay in sanctioning 12 former employees of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) who were involved in the Hamas Oct. 7 massacre of 1,200 Israelis and the kidnapping of over 250 hostages.

"We cannot allow these terrorists who masquerade as UNRWA humanitarian aid workers to go unpunished," the Republican and Democratic lawmakers stated in a joint letter addressed to State Secretary Antony Blinken and Secretary of Treasury Janet Yellen.

The lawmakers urged the U.S. government to swiftly designate the concerned individuals as Specially Designed Global Terrorists (SDGTs) and impose sanctions on them, emphasizing the need to take strong action to preserve the integrity of genuine humanitarian aid work.

In late January, the United States and several other governments suspended their financial aid to UNRWA after Israel presented incriminating evidence that revealed several of its employees had participated in the Hamas Oct. 7 atrocities committed against Israeli civilians.

At the time, U.S. State Department Spokesperson Matthew Miller emphasized that the Biden administration is “extremely troubled” by the UNRWA ties to the Hamas terrorist group.

"There must be complete accountability for anyone who participated in the heinous attacks," Blinken reportedly told UN Sec.-Gen. António Guterres.

In early February, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blasted the UN agency for being closely affiliated with Hamas.

“I think it’s time that the international community and the UN itself understands that UNRWA’s mission has to end,” Netanyahu stated.

“UNRWA is totally infiltrated with Hamas,” the premier said. “It has been in the service of Hamas and its schools, and in many other things,” Netanyahu added.

Later in February, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant revealed the names of 12 UNRWA workers who participated in the attack on Oct. 7. The defense minister noted that he had the names of 30 additional UNRWA workers who assisted Hamas in committing atrocities.

For many years, UNRWA has been accused of advocating terrorism and spreading antisemitism in its school system. The agency largely depends on financial aid from Western donor nations and Japan. Following international pressure and the suspension of aid, the UN promised to implement an impartial and professional inquiry into the conduct of UNRWA and its employees.

However, an UN-appointed panel whitewashed the UNRWA-Hamas terror scandal in an April report.

“The set of rules and the mechanisms and procedures in place [at UNRWA] are the most elaborate within the UN system, precisely because it is such a difficult issue to work in such a complex and sensitive environment,” claimed former French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna, who led the panel.

Furthermore, the panel report claimed that Israel had failed to present evidence linking UNRWA workers to the October 7 terrorist attack.

“Israel made public claims that a significant number of UNRWA employees are members of terrorist organisations. However, Israel has yet to provide supporting evidence of this,” the report stated.

Following the publication of the controversial report, most Western donor nations decided to restore financial aid to UNRWA without demanding accountability for the UN agency's problematic links to Hamas and the Oct. 7 attack.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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