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The Hill
The Hill
17 Feb 2024
Tara Suter

NextImg:GOP launches probe into Biden administration funding of UN Palestinian relief agency

House Republicans are launching a probe into the Biden administration’s funding of the  United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) following allegations related to the Oct. 7 attack on Israel.

“House Committee on Oversight and Accountability Chairman James Comer (R-Ky.) and Oversight Committee Republican lawmakers are launching an investigation into the Biden Administration’s decision to reinstitute funding to the United [Nations] Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in light of recent reporting revealing some UNRWA staff members actively participated in the October 7, 2023 terrorist attacks and kidnappings against Israel,” House Oversight Committee Republicans said in a press release Friday.

Late last month, the Biden administration announced that it was halting funds to UNRWA due to allegations that a dozen of its staff members had been involved in the Oct. 7 terrorist attack by Hamas.

The press release also included a link to a letter from the Oversight Committee Republicans, in which they ask Secretary of State Antony Blinken to provide documents and information including “[a]ll documents and communications between or among any State Department official and the White House relating to the decision, announced April 7, 2021, to resume funding to UNRWA.”

“The latest revelations of UNRWA’s ties to terror groups warrant greater scrutiny of the Biden Administration’s decision in April 2021 to partner with the agency. Therefore, the Committee seeks documents and information regarding the Biden Administration’s decision to renew funding for UNRWA in 2021,” the letter reads. 

In 2018, the Trump administration announced that it would stop funding UNRWA. In a statement at the time, a spokesperson for the State Department said that the administration had “carefully reviewed the issue and determined that the United States will not make additional contributions to UNRWA,” saying its business model and fundamental practices were “unsustainable.”

As a presidential candidate, Biden committed to restoring assistance to Palestinians, including UNRWA, and followed through as president. In April 2021, the Biden administration announced $235 million in funding for the agency.