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US congressmen seek to introduce bill banning UNRWA donations

July 29, 2021 at 10:31 am

First session of the 117th Congress in the House Chamber at the US Capitol on January 03, 2021 in Washington, DC [Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images]

Republican congressmen on Tuesday introduced a bill aiming to stop the US administration’s flow of funds to the United Nations Relief and Work Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), a news release announced on Tuesday.

The bill was introduced to the House of Representatives by Republican Congressman Chip Roy and co-sponsored by 28 other Republican colleagues, and to the Senate by Jim Risch of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

According to the news release, the US State Department should certify that no UNRWA employee is a member of a terrorist organisation such as Hamas or Hezbollah, does not promote terrorist activity or propagate anti-American, anti-Israel or anti-Semitic rhetoric prior to approving any donations.

For that reason, it also stated several other monitoring steps, including implementing a comprehensive financial audit and a system to ensure that the funds are not diverted to a terrorist organisation.

The Jewish National Fund’s website reported Israeli Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan speaking about the problems with UNRWA, noting that he urged the Biden administration not to restore its funding, which was eliminated during the administration of former President Donald Trump.

READ: ‘Neutrality’ and humanitarian aid for Palestinian refugees 

“Israel strongly opposes renewing funding for UNRWA, an anti-Semitic agency that incites against Israel and uses a twisted definition of who is a ‘refugee’,” the Jewish National Fund reported Erdan tweeting.

“Rather than solving the conflict, UNRWA perpetuates it,” he added. “Any return to funding it must be contingent on essential reforms.”

The press release stated: “The US taxpayer dollars should never go to a corrupt entity that undermines Israel, one of our greatest allies and closest friends.”

Roy indicated in the release: “UNRWA has a long track record of using educational materials that promote anti-Semitism, violence and terrorism while maintaining ties to the terrorist organisation Hamas.”

He added: “Because of this, UNRWA is an obstacle to peace whose flawed mandate perpetuates the Palestinian ‘refugee crisis’ by using a nonsensical definition of a refugee.”