U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Ranking Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and fellow Members of Congress today urged the President to cut off aid to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) until that agency ends its politicization and infiltration by Palestinian extremist groups. On January 29th, the President authorized the release of $13 million of U.S. taxpayer funds to UNRWA for humanitarian aid to the West Bank and Gaza.
"UNRWA has compromised its humanitarian mission, and U.S. funds should not be used to bankroll this agency until it ceases its anti-Israel incitement and severs all links to Palestinian militants," Ros-Lehtinen said.
A recent report by UNRWA's former general counsel reaffirmed past reports that, in violation of U.S. law, UNRWA does not properly screen staff members and humanitarian aid recipients for links to Foreign Terrorist Organizations.
"Leading UNRWA officials have compromised that humanitarian agency's mission by politicizing UNRWA and displaying public, blatant bias against Israel and in support of Hamas," Ros-Lehtinen and her colleagues stated in the letter. "We believe that U.S. assistance to UNRWA would contravene existing law," the letter said. "Moreover, given the troubling record and rhetoric of UNRWA and its officials, further aid to UNRWA at this time would only serve to undermine U.S. interests."
Ros-Lehtinen is the author of The United Nations Transparency, Accountability and Reform Act (H.R. 557), which conditions U.S. aid to UNRWA on that agency taking a number of steps to prevent its resources from supporting Foreign Terrorist Organizations.