"Members of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs heard expert testimony on Tuesday about the links between Hamas and the primary U.N. aid organization for the Palestinians in Gaza.
On Friday, it was revealed that a dozen employees of the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East may have participated directly in Hamas’s Oct. 7 terror attacks on Israel. The United States and 16 other countries and the European Union have cut off aid to the U.N. agency.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken called the allegations ‘highly, highly credible’ on Monday, but Richard Goldberg, a senior advisor at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, told members of Congress on Tuesday that the allegations are merely the tip of the iceberg.
‘UNRWA is a horror show that is decades in the making, co-produced by the U.S. taxpayer,’ Goldberg testified, during a hearing that ran about three hours and, initially, was disrupted frequently by protesters. ‘Terrorism support and subsidy, for UNRWA, is a feature not a bug.’
At the hearing, the Democratic witness, Mara Rudman, a University of Virginia professor and former official in the Obama and Clinton administrations, was asked about reports that as many as 15% of UNRWA employees in Gaza might be members of Hamas and other terror groups. Rudman testified that those figures likely reflect wider Gazan support for terrorism.
‘Press reports have indicated that the percentages of UNRWA staff that may be affiliated in some way with Hamas are roughly similar to the percentages in the general population that are thought to be affiliated, so between 10% and 15%,’ she said. ‘If they employ 13,000 people in the population, the single biggest employer, it would not be surprising if the percentages are roughly that of the general population.’...
Republicans on the committee generally signaled that they would support ending U.S. funding to UNRWA permanently...
But some pro-Israel Democrats said on Tuesday that the U.N. agency had proven itself unfit to fulfill its mission, while noting that they would support aid to the Palestinians from other agencies.
‘We have to replace UNRWA with something else,’ said Rep. Brad Schneider (D-Ill.). ‘I support getting rid of UNRWA.’
‘UNRWA, long funded by your tax dollars, has been governing Gaza at the behest of Hamas so that Hamas, which sees governing as a distraction, could dedicate itself to murdering Jews in Israel,’ Rep. Ritchie Torres (D-N.Y.) posted on social media on Tuesday..."