Congressman Launches New Bill Targeting United Nations Agency

Congressman Launches New Bill Targeting United Nations Agency

( – Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ) drafted the “Stop Support for United Nations Relief and Works Agency Act of 2024” on January 30th after discovering close ties between the UN agency and the Islamic terrorist group Hamas.

Allegations began surfacing earlier in January that the agency was sending hundreds of millions of dollars to Hamas. Additionally, a dozen of its employees were allegedly found to have played a role in the surprise Hamas attack against Israel in October 2023, according to Israeli intelligence sources. Several nations, including the United States, temporarily paused funding for the agency after the allegations came to light.

Smith wants to make those pauses permanent. It specifically forbids both voluntary and involuntary funding for the UNRWA and affiliated entities. It also forbids regular US funding for the UN if those funds will be distributed to the UNRWA.

Smith’s bill revitalizes a cessation of US funding for the agency that was implemented during Donald Trump’s administration. That decision was also made after finding possible ties to Islamic terrorist groups. The UNRWA was spending about 40% of its budget in the Gaza Strip at that time. Funding resumed shortly after Joe Biden took office. His administration has given over $1 billion to the agency so far.

The US said that contributions will continue pending an investigation conducted by the UN into its agency. Richard Goldberg, Trump’s former National Security Council advisor, has accused the UNRWA of being complicit in crimes committed by Hamas. However, John Kirby, Biden’s national security spokesperson, said that the agency’s work shouldn’t be written off entirely. He claimed they are still helping many innocent people, especially along the Gaza Strip.

Yoav Gallant, Israel’s Defense Minister, praised the legislation as a step in the right direction for accountability. He also said the employees were posing as humanitarian workers. However, Philippe Lazzarini, the agency’s chief, said he was shocked and claimed that any employees who worked with Hamas will face consequences.

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