Claims that UNRWA is Hamas ‘proxy’ are ‘just flat-out lies,’ says Sen. Chris Van Holle

Claims that UNRWA is Hamas ‘proxy’ are ‘just flat-out lies,’ says Sen. Chris Van Holle


Sen. Chris Van Hollen, Democrat of Maryland, tells “Face the Nation” that claims by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and others that the relief group UNRWA, which provides relief for Palestinian refugees, is a “proxy” for Hamas are “just flat-out lies.”

The Hill reports:

Funding for the United Nations (U.N.) agency that provides relief for Palestinian refugees, known as UNRWA, has emerged as a serious obstacle as congressional negotiators race to prevent a partial government shutdown at the end of next week.

Republicans have been pressing to block further funding to UNRWA in light of allegations that a dozen of its staffers took part in Hamas’s attack on Israel last October.

Democrats have acknowledged the gravity of that revelation, but they are quick to note the number of alleged malefactors is a miniscule fraction of the more than 30,000 employees of UNRWA. They’re warning that eliminating funding for the agency altogether would leave a void in the delivery of food, medical care and other humanitarian assistance that no aid group or world government is currently in a position to fill.

The U.S. funds UNRWA through an account covered by the annual State Department funding bill that, along with five others, is due on May 22. Congress passed its first batch of six full-year funding bills for fiscal year 2024 last week, but lawmakers are warning the second tranche will be more difficult to find agreement on.

UNRWA’s fate is one of the key sticking points. And Democrats are pressing for the aid. [Continue reading…]

The Associated Press reports:

Australia will restore funding to the United Nations relief agency for Palestinians, weeks after the agency lost hundreds of millions of dollars in support following Israeli allegations that some of its Gaza-based staff participated in the Oct. 7 attack.

The Australian government also pledged Friday to increase aid for the besieged enclave, with Foreign Minister Penny Wong expressing horror at the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Gaza.

Australia’s move follows Sweden, the European Commission and Canada in reinstating funding for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees, which had seen its international funding frozen while the allegations were investigated. [Continue reading…]

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