All Israel

Accused of supporting Hamas, UNRWA under pressure as GOP lawmakers push to end US support

An aid distribution center run by United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip Sept. 1, 2018. (Photo: REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa)

Republican leaders in the U.S. Congress are pushing back against aid for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees that is included in a $9 billion package for urgent humanitarian assistance, proposed by U.S. President Joe Biden on Oct. 20, The Washington Post reported.

The GOP lawmakers are citing concerns over the controversial UN agency’s ties to Hamas to reject the Senate's bipartisan deal that is mainly intended to provide military assistance to Israel and Ukraine but also includes humanitarian aid.

“I will not vote for a bill that includes UNRWA money, period,” Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) said.

Scott, who is one of the leading voices in the effort to strip UNRWA funding added, “There’s no way to prevent it from getting to Hamas. These people have American hostages.”

Republicans in the U.S. Congress have complained about the UNRWA for years, but the agency itself, as well as other international aid groups and White House officials, reject the charges.

The White House does not know of any instances of U.S. aid money being diverted from UNRWA to Hamas or other sanctioned groups in Gaza or the West Bank in the last years, it said.

Dr. Adam Reuter, a financial advisor and university lecturer, explained how Hamas utilizes aid money even without necessarily stealing it.

“UNRWA, it turns out is the one bringing the most dollars in cash into Gaza,” he wrote in an article for the Israeli website Bizportal.

The local economy in the Gaza Strip, including local trade, business transactions and salaries, is being run with Israeli shekels, Reuter explained.

“Hamas, on the other hand, also needs a lot of dollars, because it purchases weapons outside of Gaza.”

“Any object or material that cannot be produced locally in Gaza, like explosives, fuses… must enter the Strip by being smuggled from the outside. The smugglers in Sinai are paid from Gaza mainly with cash dollars; this is the currency that goes to the merchant.”

“Over the past few years, UNRWA has injected over $2 billion in cash into the Gaza Strip… Most of this money went through money changers into the hands of Hamas, which used it to purchase weapons outside of the Strip.”

The U.S. government is the single biggest donor to the UNRWA, donating more than $1 billion since 2021 and $371 million this year alone.

U.S. funding was suspended under the Trump administration in 2018, but the Biden administration reversed the decision upon taking office in 2021.

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

All Israel
Receive latest news & updates
    A message from All Israel News
    Help us educate Christians on a daily basis about what is happening in Israel & the Middle East and why it matters.
    For as little as $5, you can support ALL ISRAEL NEWS, a non-profit media organization that is supported by readers like you.
    Donate to ALL ISRAEL NEWS
    Popular Articles
    Latest Stories