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Hebrew Scriptures: US accused of funding UNRWA while terror ties known, complaint charges

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken

“The writing was on the wall about UNRWA 50 years ago,” Attorney Robert Tolchin, who is representing the plaintiffs stated.

Over 8,000 Israeli citizens have filed a complaint in the DC District Court, claiming that the State Department violated anti-terrorism laws by providing billions of US tax dollars to the United Nations Relief and Work Agency For Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). The plaintiffs “demand a complete cessation of all funding to UNRWA in contravention of law.”

The plaintiffs are represented by attorneys Robert J. Tolchin in Brooklyn and Nitsana Darshan-Leitner in Tel Aviv, founder of the Shurat HaDin Law Center, an Israeli human rights organisation dedicated to combating terrorism and anti-Israel activities, according to its website. The defendants include US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who is responsible for coordinating all US federal aid to UNRWA, among other US government employees who share the responsibilities.

Among the plaintiffs is Marice Shnaider, whose sister and her husband were murdered in the Hamas attack on Kibbutz Nir Oz on October 7. His niece, Shiri Bibas, and her husband Yarden Bibas were taken hostage by Hamas with their two sons, Kfir, nine-months-old at the time, and Ariel, four-years-old at the time.

He said: “The blood of my sister and her husband and the fate of an entire family being held hostage for more than four months is in the hands of the administration that pours millions of taxpayer dollars into the purse of Hamas. Why did they not stop this before? Why did they continue to pay them after it was revealed that a UNRWA teacher held hostages in his home? What else must happen for them to come to their senses? It’s enough!”

Accusations against UNRWA

The US is UNRWA’s primary donor, with $4 billion in tax dollars given to the organization over the years. US support for UNRWA reached $422 million in 2023 alone. 

Israel accused at least 12 of UNRWA’s direct employees of participating in the Hamas-led attack, revealing as well that some of the hostages were held by UNRWA employees in their homes in Gaza. Additionally, as uncovered by IDF operations in Gaza, UNRWA facilities have been used by Hamas.

Since the reports came to light, the US and other donor countries temporarily suspended funding of UNRWA “pending an investigation by the United Nations.”

The complaint reads: “UNRWA is not an impartial, non-governmental agency with the motive of simply providing humanitarian aid and relief to purported Palestinian civilians. Instead, UNRWA has become an instrumentality an agency of Hamas that employs terrorist members and individuals supportive of Hamas and other designated terrorist organisations whose mission is to eradicate Israel and kill innocent civilians.

UNRWA staff has committed murder, rapes, and injury, with the financing being footed by the United States and other Western donor countries.”It notes the US’s ignoring of this information, saying the administration “permitted millions of dollars to flow to UNRWA despite it being publicly known that such funding is diverted to terrorism and UNRWA employees are complicit” and thus, “United States’ support of terrorism that murders and maims American citizens must cease once and for all.”Tolchin analogised the deterioration of UNRWA to what happens when cities defer maintenance on their bridges, “eventually, there are catastrophic problems.

The writing was on the wall about UNRWA 50 years ago, which is why back in the 1960’s Congress prohibited US funding of UNRWA unless UNRWA affirmatively prevented any of its benefits from going to what was then referred to as ‘guerilla fighters.’Unfortunately, for years, US administrations have looked the other way and funded it, even though it was widely known that UNRWA in Gaza had become infested by Hamas. It is time for the US administration to take the blinders off, stop with the wishful, magical thinking that UNRWA tomorrow is going to be any different than UNRWA for decades past. It is time for a new paradigm.”

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