by Adam Andrzejewski
Biden Administration re-started Palestinian aid by pumping $1.2 billion through the United Nations aid agency. It was a reversal of the 2018 policy when President Trump had zeroed them out.
The Biden Administration gave $1 billion in Palestinian aid to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) since re-starting U.S. aid to the program in April 2021.
Last week, on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, Israel presented evidence that UNRWA is laced with extremists, and that no fewer than a dozen UNRWA employees took part in the October 7 massacres and kidnappings of Israeli civilians.
In August 2018, President Donald Trump cut U.S. aid to UNRWA to $0 for the first time in the 71-year history of the subsidy. He was worried that the aid funded terrorism and the Palestinian Authority and Palestine Liberation Organization weren’t honestly interested in peace.
Last fall, my organization, OpenTheBooks.com, was the first to quantify $1 billion provided by the Biden Administration in new funding for Palestinian aid delivered through the United Nations. We also pointed out how that aid could be syphoned off by Hamas and others.
The White House has since confirmed those numbers.
However, according to the Israel intelligence dossier, approximately 10-percent of UNRWA’s 12,000 employees in Gaza have links to Islamic militant organizations such as Hamas and Palestinian Jihad. Furthermore, 49-percent of employees have “close relatives” who had “official ties” to the militant groups, “especially Hamas.”
Hamas infiltration of UNWRA runs deep in scope. From the dossier, as reported in The Wall Street Journal:
“Thirteen UNRWA employees participated in the October 7 Hamas attack on Israel which killed 1,200 in the deadliest day for the Jewish people since the Holocaust. UNRWA employees planned logistics including weapons procurement, participated in the Hamas attack waves, and helped kidnap Israelis.”
- Biden Administration restarted U.S. taxpayer-funded Palestinian aid through the United Nations: $318.4 million (2021), $363.9 million (2022), $371 million (2023) and a FY2024 request of $260 million.
- President Trump zeroed out Palestinian aid because he didn’t feel that the Palestinian Authority was an honest broker in the Israel peace negotiations. For example, the PA codified “pay-for-slay” in Palestinian law, at some $315 million per year, and growing. That’s money for mass murder – via public pensions to the families of dead or imprisoned terrorists. It makes U.S. taxpayers their unwitting enablers.
- The United States has been UNRWA’s largest single funder since its 1948 founding. We historically provide approximately one-third of its budget. Today, UNRWA subsidizes over five million Palestinians living in Gaza, the West Bank, Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon.
Since Hamas attacked Israel on October 7, the Biden Administration continued to send Palestinian aid through the United Nations. An additional $121 million was paid out since October, a fact confirmed by the State Department. Only this week did the Administration freeze the remainder. The damage was already done, only $300,000 remains.
In May 2021, Secretary of State Antony Blinken acknowledged the possibility that U.S. aid could be used to restock Hamas’ arsenal of hate.
“As we’ve seen in life, as we all know in life, there are no guarantees, but we’re going to do everything that we can to ensure that this assistance reaches the people who need it the most.”
“We’re going to be working in partnership with the United Nations and the Palestinian Authority to kind of channel aid there in a manner that does its best to go to the people of Gaza.”
Even after the Biden Administration restored President Trump’s UNRWA aid freeze this week, following the damning Israel intelligence report, Blinken again started hedging his statements, suggesting that UNRWA is “indispensable”:
“No one else can play the role that UNRWA has been playing, certainly not in the near term.”
It was not a secret that the United Nations aid agency was infiltrated by Hamas and other groups over the years.
In 2014, the center-left New Republic called UNRWA “effectively a branch of Hamas.” Also in 2014, UNRWA acknowledged and denounced the missiles found at its schools twice in one week.
In March 2021, internal emails produced under the Freedom of Information Act to the Washington Free Beacon showed Administration officials concerned about benefiting terrorists if they unfroze the Palestinian aid through UNRWA.
In March 2023, U.N. Watch and the humanitarian group IMPACT released a report showing 100 pages of evidence that schools built and run by the UNRWA taught hate toward the Jewish people and glorified terrorism. For example, certain materials tested students on whether violence and martyrdom were obligations of all Muslims.
U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT FAILURE
In 2021, the State Department said it had “stringent policies and procedures in place to prevent UNRWA funds from benefiting terrorists. These policies included complete background checks on employees and regularly checking of staff against known names and terrorist entities. The State Department shared these lists with other governments including Israel.
Quite obviously, the “stringent policies and procedures” failed quite spectacularly.