The U.N. Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), an organization for decades facing accusations of fueling radical Islam and antisemitism in Gaza, announced Friday it was suspending some staff over allegations they joined the horrific Oct. 7 Hamas terrorist attacks on Israel.
U.N. chief Antonio Guterres “is horrified” by the accusations and an “urgent and comprehensive independent review of UNRWA will be conducted”, said his spokesman Stephane Dujarric.
A statement setting out the move was issued by Philippe Lazzarini, UNRWA Commissioner-General, declaring:
To protect the Agency’s ability to deliver humanitarian assistance, I have taken the decision to immediately terminate the contracts of these staff members and launch an investigation in order to establish the truth without delay. Any UNRWA employee who was involved in acts of terror will be held accountable, including through criminal prosecution.
UNRWA reiterates its condemnation in the strongest possible terms of the abhorrent attacks of 7 October and calls for the immediate and unconditional release of all Israeli hostages and their safe return to their families.
These shocking allegations come as more than 2 million people in Gaza depend on lifesaving assistance that the Agency has been providing since the war began. Anyone who betrays the fundamental values of the United Nations also betrays those whom we serve in Gaza, across the region and elsewhere around the world.
The United States was the agency’s biggest bilateral donor in 2022, contributing more than $340 million, according to UNRWA’s website.
The U.S. State Department also reacted quickly to the news by stating it has paused additional funding for UNRWA while it reviews the allegations “and the steps the United Nations is taking to address them.”
Twelves workers from UNRWA currently face accusations they willingly participated in the deadly Hamas terror attack. The State Department declared that in light of the investigations:
Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken spoke with United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres on January 25 to emphasize the necessity of a thorough and swift investigation of this matter. We welcome the decision to conduct such an investigation and Secretary General Guterres’ pledge to take decisive action to respond, should the allegations prove accurate.
We also welcome the UN’s announcement of a “comprehensive and independent” review of UNRWA. There must be complete accountability for anyone who participated in the heinous attacks of October 7.
UNRWA operates in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, Gaza Strip, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria.
Former President Donald Trump axed U.S. funding for the group in 2018 only for President Joe Biden to restore it as soon as he took office, as Breitbart News reported.
U.N. agencies and globalist organizations delivered a collective “sigh of relief” on Sunday as they awaited the prospect of Joe Biden in the White House and a return to the unrestricted flow of U.S. taxpayer dollars. https://t.co/BF4yNEtD1U
— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) November 16, 2020
Biden administration officials boasted last February of committing over $730 million in American taxpayers’ dollars to the UNRWA – $680 million between 2021, when Biden became president, and early 2023, followed by a promise from Secretary of State Antony Blinken of another forthcoming $50 million by last December.
“Since April of 2021, we have demonstrated in very real and significant terms our commitment to the humanitarian needs of the Palestinian people,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said in February.
“We’ve provided over $890 million for Palestinians, including over $680 in humanitarian assistance for refugees in the region through UNRWA … When Secretary Blinken was in Ramallah, he announced another $50 million in funding for UNRWA.”
Israel’s defense minister Yoav Gallant applauded the move to single out the accused, saying the UNRWA “humanitarian workers” workers had “blood on their hands.”
Thank you to the U.S. Administration for your leadership and taking an important step in holding @UNRWA accountable. At least a dozen UNRWA employees participated in the horrific attack conducted on October 7th – these are “humanitarian workers” with blood on their hands.
— יואב גלנט – Yoav Gallant (@yoavgallant) January 26, 2024
Earlier this month White House national security spokesman John Kirby defended the Biden administration’s support for UNRWA as it faced accusations of allowing Hamas terrorists to use its facilities, as Breitbart News reported.
He said UNRWA does “important work” in trying to “get food, water, [and] medicine” to Palestinians in Gaza.
“You can’t hold them accountable for the depradations of Hamas,” he said. Kirby was then asked whether UNRWA should not, “at the very least, raise the alarm” about Hamas’s use of their facilities.
When Kirby tried to deflect the question to the United Nations, it was pointed out the Biden administration gives UNRWA “a billion dollars.”