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Biden Cuts Off Life-Saving Aid To Palestinians

Above photo: Displacec Palestinians live in a school run by the United Nations Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA) in Deir Al-Balah in the Central Gaza Strip. Naaman Omar/APA Images.

Based On Israeli Allegations Against UNRWA.

The State Department has paused funding for UNRWA after the Israeli government accused 12 employees of being involved in the October 7 attack.

The State Department paused additional funding for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) after the Israeli government accused 12 UNRWA workers of being involved in the October 7 Hamas attack.

A press statement from State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said the Biden administration was “extremely troubled by the allegations.” Secretary of State Antony Blinken has spoken with United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres “to emphasize the necessity of a thorough and swift investigation of this matter.”

UNRWA has already terminated the staffers and opened an investigation into the allegations. “The Israeli authorities have provided UNRWA with information about the alleged involvement of several UNRWA employees in the horrific attacks on Israel on October 7,” said UNRWA Commissioner General Philippe Lazzarini. “To protect the agency’s ability to deliver humanitarian assistance, I have taken the decision to immediately terminate the contracts of these staff members and launch an investigation in order to establish the truth without delay.”

Many have noted that UNRWA provides life-saving aid to more than 2 million Palestinians in Gaza.

“Based on unproven allegations alone, the U.S. has cut off funding to UNRWA, one of few groups which provides crucial on the ground aid to Palestinians,” said the antiwar group CODEPINK. “Yet, as Israel commits war crime after war crime, the U.S. continues sending weapons.”

“The US is collectively punishing Palestinians, who rely on UNRWA to survive, based on Israeli allegations against 0.0004% of UNRWA’s staff. Outrageous,” said the Institute for Middle East Understanding (IMEU).

The Biden administration’s announcement comes on the same day that the UN’s top court ordered Israel to prevent genocidal acts Gaza and a U.S. court began hearing a lawsuit accusing Israel of genocide.

Commentators questioned the State Department’s timing across social media.

“So, the US State Dept drops a rather significant statement on (unsubstantiated) allegations against UNRWA workers and pulling funding on the day of the ICJ ruling which finds sufficient evidence for plausible genocidal acts—- and decides there’s no need for a press briefing,” wrote AJ+’s Sana Saeed. “Honestly, this would be masterful manufacturing of the news if it wasn’t so transparent.”

“The US chose to stop funds to UNRWA only an hour after the ICJ decision,” tweeted USCPR Organizing & Advocacy Director Iman Abid. “Israel kills over 33,000 Palestinians and the US still continues to negotiate an increase in funding to Israel. I don’t know what more you need to know about this administration.”

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant praised the move on Twitter. “Major changes need to take place so that international efforts, funds and humanitarian initiatives don’t fuel Hamas terrorism and the murder of Israelis,” he wrote. “Terrorism under the guise of humanitarian work is a disgrace to the UN and the principles it claims to represent.”

In December, UNRWA announced that Israel’s onslaught against Gaza had killed 142 employees of the organization.

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