UNWRA, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, provides health and social services – including education – for more than 5.6 million registered Palestinian refugees. The agency's formation goes back to 1949, a year after post-WW II Jews fought and won the right to reclaim their ancient homeland.
Former president Donald Trump considered UNWRA so corrupt he cut off U.S. funding but the funding has since been restored by President Joe Biden.
Watchdog group UN Watch this week released a 68-page report that details how UNWRA influences young Palestinian students with hate, glorifies terrorism, and most recently praised the Hamas’ Oct. 7 attacks against Israel. The report claims that since 2015, UN Watch has documented more than 150 Facebook profiles of UNRWA staff – many of them educators – that contain incitement to antisemitism and terrorism.
In response to the Hamas attacks, UNRWA Gaza teacher Osama Ahmed posted “Allah is Great, Allah is Great, reality surpasses our wildest dreams.”
Other examples cited by the report are:
- UNRWA principal Iman Hassan justified the massacre as “restoring rights” and “redressing” Palestinian “grievances.”
- Rawia Helles, director of the Khan Younis Training Center and featured in an UNRWA video, glorified one of the terrorists as a “hero,” “raider,” and “prince of Khan Younis.”
- English teacher Asmaa Rafiq Kuheil excitedly called to “sculpture the date” adding a heart emoji.
- School administrator Hmada Ahmed posted “welcome the great October.”
“Frankly, this doesn't surprise me," Sen. Pete Ricketts (R-Nebraska) said on Washington Watch Tuesday. "UNRWA is a corrupt organization. In fact, the Trump Administration said it was corrupt beyond repair."
A 2021 BBC story said the Biden administration was providing $235 million to Palestinians of which two-thirds was going through UNRWA. The agency had suffered a "financial crisis" after Trump cut $360 million in funding in 2018, according to the BBC.
Ricketts told show host Tony Perkins that UNRWA funding was originally cut because it housed Hamas terrorists in its own buildings and stored their weapons there, too.
"They hired Hamas agents. They had textbooks that glorified terrorism," the Senator said. "And that's why the Trump administration knew they should just cut this thing off.”
UNRWA maintains one of its four headquarters in Hamas-controlled Gaza.
In the third year of the Biden administration, the U.S. has sent $1 billion to UNRWA under Joe Biden.
Ricketts and Sen. Tim Scott (R-South Carolina), a GOP presidential candidate, introduced their “Stop Support for Hamas Act on Oct. 31.
The bill would:
- Cut off contributions for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), which has been described as “effectively a branch of Hamas;”
- Freeze Economic Support Funds (ESF) to Gaza and the West Bank until Israel has verifiably dismantled the terrorist infrastructure of Hamas and other terrorist groups in Gaza;
- Strengthen certification requirements under the Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Act of 2006 to ensure that no ministry, agency or instrumentality of the Palestinian Authority (PA) employs members, agents or affiliates of Hamas;
- Ensure any U.S. assistance to nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) operating in Gaza and the West Bank does not benefit Hamas or any other terrorist organization; and
- Strengthen Taylor Force Act provisions to prevent any U.S. funding that directly or indirectly benefits the PA until it ends its “pay for slay” program.
Ricketts said one of the Oct. 7 terrorists was found with a check from the Palestinian Authority in his pocket.
The terrorist didn’t survive but his family will be cared for through the PA’s “pay for slay” program, which provides benefits for the families of those who attack Israel.
“If you get captured or killed, they pay your family. It’s just a horrible program that we’ve got to stop. There’s a lot we can do to cut off funding for this,” Ricketts said.
Ricketts said Biden has a “policy of appeasement” with Hamas and with one of its chief funding sources, Iran.
“What it really boils down to is the Biden administration is just turning a blind eye to giving terrorists like Hamas our taxpayer dollars," the Senator complained, "and they don't want to take the steps necessary to be able to block it."
The Stop Support for Hamas Act has no Democratic support right now but the GOP senator said he is hopeful that changes since the bill is still relatively new.