US senators and statesmen are calling for the probe of UNRWA and for defunding the Agency over its link to Hamas terror during Operation Protective Edge.
After a bipartisan coalition of American senators called last month for an independent investigation of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) for its involvement in aiding Hamas terror activities before and during Operation Protective Edge, some former officials and critics of the international organization are urging Congress to entirely defund some of its agencies, reports Alex Newman for the New American.
The central point of criticism is the fact that various UN facilities purporting to serve “Palestinian refugees” — schools and clinics, for example — were actually being used by Hamas to store and launch rockets at Israeli civilians. Making matters even worse: Once the missiles were discovered, the UN agency returned them to Hamas, claiming it was standard to hand over such materials to “local authorities” for alleged “disposal.” Hamas further used the UNRWA facilities as launching pads for their rockets and refuge for their terrorists.
Instead of addressing such recurring problems at the agency, officials at the international outfit called for “war-crimes” prosecutions of Israelis at the UN’s “International Criminal Court.” Among other alleged crimes, UN functionaries blasted Israel for shelling UN facilities — the same facilities used by Hamas to launch and hide rockets.
“So outrageously have several U.N. institutions behaved, before and during the current Gaza crisis, that the United States can no longer ignore or excuse it,” noted former U.S. Ambassador to the UN John Bolton in a recent column. “Congress must act to defund U.N. bodies that perform unacceptably — thereby denying them the resources and the legitimacy of American support and putting other U.N. agencies on notice they could face a similar fate.”
“These failures are not simply one-time mistakes but reflect far-deeper, inherent flaws in the U.N. system,” he wrote. “Given Obama’s multi-lateralist sympathies, there is no chance he will do anything meaningful to rectify this conduct. Instead, Congress must investigate and then take the necessary steps to dissociate the United States from the United Nations’ unacceptable behavior regarding Gaza.”
‘Troubling Role’ Played by UNRWA
In a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry last month, Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) expressed “profound concern” over the “troubling role” played by UNRWA in the latest conflict.
“We urge the State Department to launch an independent investigation into these incidents and to call on the United Nations leadership to hold UNRWA accountable, including by reprimanding or dismissing the UNRWA staff responsible as appropriate, as well as asking the U.N. to ensure that these incidents never take place again,” the lawmakers wrote Kerry.
The investigation should examine, among other issues, the fate of the Hamas rockets found in UN compounds, what measures the UN took to secure UNRWA property, and how the U.S. government plans to work with the global outfit to ensure that such incidents “are never repeated,” they said. “United States taxpayers deserve to know if UNRWA is fulfilling its mission or taking sides in this tragic conflict.”
“I am demanding a credible and independent assessment of UNRWA’s actions during this crisis,” Kirk said in a statement. “Given UNRWA’s ties to terrorism in the past, U.S. taxpayers deserve immediate answers and full transparency regarding their intentions and actions. The State Department must make clear to the U.N. that it needs to take all necessary steps to prevent Hamas from using taxpayer-funded property to launch terror attacks against our allies.”
In a separate statement Cardin attacked the UN for its one-sidedness.
‘Israel is Undertaking Extraordinary Efforts to Avoid Civilian Casualties’
“When an organization funded in part by the U.S. suggests that the two are morally equivalent, U.S. taxpayers take note,” he said. “Israel is undertaking extraordinary efforts to avoid civilian casualties while Hamas cynically uses other Palestinians as human shields and deliberately attempts to kill Israeli civilians. U.N. resources and personnel cannot be complicit in Hamas’ violent terrorist actions.”
UNRWA Mostly Funded by the US
Like the UN and most of its agencies, UNRWA receives more than one-fourth of its funding from American taxpayers, making the United States the single largest source of funds. Last year, Congress and the Obama administration sent almost $300 million to the outfit. In all, Washington, D.C., has channeled some $5 billion in U.S. taxpayer funds to the UN organization, which also had close links to the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), even while the terrorist organization was openly murdering women and children. The Obama administration has recently pledged an additional $47 million to it.
Source: The New American