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Press Release Published: Feb 16, 2024

Comer & Oversight Republicans Probing Biden Administration’s Funding of UN Group with Ties to Hamas

Follows reports showing members of UNRWA staff actively participated in October 7th terrorist attacks on Israel

WASHINGTON— House Committee on Oversight and Accountability Chairman James Comer (R-Ky.) and Oversight Committee Republican lawmakers are launching an investigation into the Biden Administration’s decision to reinstitute funding to the United Nation’s Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in light of recent reporting revealing some UNRWA staff members actively participated in the October 7, 2023 terrorist attacks and kidnappings against Israel. In a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken, the lawmakers are seeking all documents and communications related to the Biden Administration’s decision to renew funding for UNRWA in 2021.

“The Committee on Oversight and Accountability is conducting oversight of the Biden Administration’s decision to restore U.S. funding to the United Nation’s Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in 2021,” wrote the lawmakers. “According to a recent report, at least twelve UNRWA staff participated in the October 7, 2023, Hamas terrorist attacks and hostage kidnappings against Israel or in their aftermath. The deeply concerning allegations surrounding UNRWA staff include participation in the kidnapping of Israelis and foreign nationals visiting or residing in Israel, procuring weapons or coordinating logistics for Hamas, and participating in the murder of civilians at a kibbutz.”

The United States and 11 other nations have now suspended payments to UNRWA while the United Nations investigates the reports. But the Biden Administration had originally restored UNRWA’s funding in 2021 amidst mounting evidence that UNRWA has close ties to terror groups. An intelligence report assesses that UNRWA is enmeshed with terrorist organizations, most notably Hamas, that carry out suicide bombings, indiscriminate rocket attacks, and use civilians as human shields. Israeli intelligence estimates that around ten percent of UNRWA’s staff have links to Hamas or Palestinian Islamic Jihad, twenty three percent of its male employees have ties to Hamas, and nearly half of all its employees have close relatives with official ties to militant groups. Just days ago, a Hamas military complex, that drew its electricity from the U.N.’s power source, was discovered directly beneath UNRWA’s location in Gaza City.

“All of these allegations, many of which predate the October 7, 2023, terrorist attacks, call into question whether the Biden Administration adequately reviewed its decision to renew funding to UNRWA. The latest revelations of UNRWA’s ties to terror groups warrant greater scrutiny of the Biden Administration’s decision in April 2021 to partner with the agency,” continued the lawmakers.

Read the full letter to Secretary Blinken here.