Jul 21, 2024  |  
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Alex Miller

NextImg:House Republicans launch probe into White House’s funding of group with ties to Hamas

A House Republican panel launched a probe into the Biden administration’s renewed funding of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency following allegations that members of the organization participated in the Oct. 7 attack on Israel. 

The House Oversight and Accountability Committee announced the investigation on Friday following accusations from the Israeli government that a dozen UNRWA employees participated in or lent support to Hamas in the terrorist group’s assault on Israel. 

In a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken, lawmakers on the GOP-led panel requested all documents and communications related to the Biden administration’s decision to renew funding for UNRWA in 2021.

“The United States and, to date, 11 other nations have now suspended payments to UNRWA while the United Nations investigates the reports,” the lawmakers wrote. “But the Administration had originally restored UNRWA’s funding in 2021 even amidst mounting evidence that UNRWA has close ties to terror groups. 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.”

The inquest comes as President Biden has urged Congress to pass the Senate’s latest foreign aid package, which includes $14 billion in aid for Israel.

House Speaker Mike Johnson, Louisiana Republican, has so far blocked the legislation because it lacks border security measures, despite killing a previous version with border policy that he said did not go far enough to quell the flow of migrants illegally crossing the U.S./Mexico border.

Mr. Johnson’s two efforts to decouple aid from the package have not made progress either, with one passing the House but hitting a wall in the Senate and another failing on the House floor earlier this month.

The Biden administration last month announced that it would halt funding to the organization following revelations of the allegations against the dozen UNRWA employees said to have been involved in the shock attack on Israel that left 1,200 dead and led to the kidnapping of 200.

The letter highlighted some of those allegations, noting that recent Israeli intelligence reports found that the organization was “enmeshed with terrorist organizations,” like Hamas, that were known to “carry out suicide bombings, indiscriminate rocket attacks, and use civilians as human shields.”

Israeli intelligence reports found that some 10% of UNRWA’s staff have links to Hamas or Palestinian Islamic Jihad, 23% of the males on staff have ties to the terrorist organization and nearly half of all the employees have “close relatives with official ties to militant groups. 

The letter noted that the Trump administration in 2018 severed funding to UNRWA because it deemed the organization’s operation “irredeemably flawed.”

“All of these allegations, many of which predate the October 7, 2023, terrorist attacks, call into question whether the Biden Administration adequately reviewed its decision to renew funding to UNRWA,” the lawmakers wrote. 

• Alex Miller can be reached at