GOP lawmaker introduces bill to ‘stop all’ taxpayer funds to UNRWA over Hamas ties: ‘Monstrous atrocities’

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FIRST ON FOX: A Republican congressman has introduced legislation that would permanently ban the United States from funding UNRWA, a United Nations agency that has funneled hundreds of millions in aid meant to help Palestinians in Gaza but has come under fire for its ties to Hamas.

New Jersey GOP Congressman Chris Smith has introduced a bill, known as the ‘‘Stop Support United Nations Relief and Works Agency Act of 2024’’, that would cut off U.S. funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East.

The United States may not make any voluntary or involuntary contributions to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (referred to in this Act as ‘‘UNRWA’’), to any successor or related entity, or to the regular budget of the United Nations for the support of UNRWA or a successor entity,’  the bill states.

The Biden administration has sent hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars to UNRWA, reversing a Trump decision to cut funding to the group, which it says is an effort to provide humanitarian aid while critics say the group is ‘effectively a branch of Hamas.’

Those ties to Hamas have come into focus in recent weeks after Israel  provided the Biden administration with a new dossier containing information about how staffers for a United Nations agency assisted or supported the Hamas terror attacks on Oct. 7.

The Biden administration announced last week it has temporarily paused ‘additional’ funding to UNRWA in response to the dossier. Germany, Italy, Australia, Finland, Netherlands and Switzerland have also joined the boycott following the accusations, which have already resulted in the termination of multiple staffers.

On Monday, White House national security spokesman John Kirby urged the public not to write off UNRWA’s humanitarian efforts as a whole.

‘But you’ve got 13,000 UNRWA employees,’ Kirby said. ‘You have 13,000 of them in Gaza alone, and as I said last week, let’s not impugn the good work of a whole agency because of the potential bad actions here by a small number.’

UNRWA has faced scrutiny in recent years even before the Hamas attack from critics who say the group has not done enough to prevent aid from reaching the hands of Hamas terrorists. UNRWA locations have reportedly housed Hamas activities and spread Hamas propaganda in schools. 

UN Watch reported earlier this year that UNRWA schools were complicit in teaching children to hate Jewish people and glorify terrorism. UN Watch reported that UNRWA has acknowledged that teachers ‘mistakenly’ produced and distributed inciting material but promised in 2021 that it no longer circulates such material.

UNRWA acknowledged in 2014, and condemned, Hamas missiles that were found at one of its schools in Gaza twice in one week. 

‘UNRWA strongly and unequivocally condemns the group or groups responsible for this flagrant violation of the inviolability of its premises under international law,’ the group said at the time.

The New York Post reported this week that roughly 10% of UNRWA staffers have links to Hamas.

‘The United Nations—and UNRWA especially—is unquestionably the world’s foremost legitimizer of antisemitism, including in its most virulent and violent forms,’ Rep. Smith, the Chair of the House Global Human Rights and International Organizations, told Fox News Digital in a statement.

‘UNRWA—which provides education in hatred of Jews through their textbooks, curricula, summer camps, and official media—has contributed to the perversity we saw performed by Hamas during its October 7 terror attack,’ Smith added. 

‘We need a comprehensive, fact-based approach to UNRWA that stops all funding and conditions future funding on a complete head-to-toe reform and restructuring of UNRWA.’

Smith is set to host a joint subcommittee hearing on Tuesday at 2 p.m. with the goal of ‘examining the mission and failures’ of UNRWA.

‘The monstrous and genocidal atrocities we have seen pouring out of Gaza since October 7 are antisemitic hate crimes—the logical consequence of the unbridled antisemitism fomented and enabled by UNRWA,’ Smith said.

Fox News Digital reached out to UNRWA and the White House for comment but did not receive a response.

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