Biden has given $121M in taxpayer funds to organization with Hamas ties since October
Since October, the Biden administration has allocated approximately $121 million in taxpayer funds to UNRWA, the U.N. agency currently facing scrutiny due to its alleged ties to Hamas, as confirmed by the State Department on Tuesday.
An additional $300,000 in allocated funds for this fiscal year was set to be provided to the humanitarian relief organization in the coming weeks, as Fox News reported.
However, the United States has frozen these funds following allegations that some UNRWA members were involved in the Oct. 7 Hamas terrorist attack on Israel, as stated by State Department spokesman Matthew Miller.
Suspension of Funds
"The funding has been put on hold," Miller informed journalists during the State Department's daily press briefing.
He further explained that determining the exact amount the U.S. may contribute to UNRWA for the remainder of this fiscal year if the funds are reinstated is challenging since the government is currently operating under a continuing resolution.
Miller said, "We don't know how much overall funding will be available for this fiscal year, and that would impact how much that we would be able to provide UNRWA."
He highlighted the historical trend of U.S. financial support to UNRWA, which typically ranges between $300 and $400 million annually.
The Biden administration has allocated hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars to UNRWA, overturning former President Donald Trump's decision to cut funding to the group.
Biden officials assert that these funds are intended for humanitarian aid to the Palestinian people. However, critics argue that UNRWA is effectively a branch of Hamas.
International Response and U.S. Stance
The U.S. administration's stance on UNRWA funding shifted dramatically following the submission of a dossier by Israel alleging that around thirteen UNRWA staff members were involved in supporting the Hamas-led attacks.
In response, the Biden administration, along with several countries including Germany, Italy, Australia, Finland, the Netherlands, and Switzerland, have temporarily ceased additional funding to UNRWA.
This collective international reaction has led to the dismissal of several implicated staff members.
Despite these allegations, the White House continues to back UNRWA, emphasizing the vital humanitarian aid it provides to Palestinians in Gaza.
"We very much support the work that UNRWA does, we think it's critical," stated Miller.
He continued, "There is no other humanitarian player in Gaza who can provide food and medicine at the scale that UNRWA does."
The U.S. government is urging the United Nations to conduct a thorough investigation into these allegations, seeking accountability and measures to prevent future misconduct.
Miller indicated that future payments to UNRWA would be contingent upon Congressional approval within Biden's proposed $106 billion supplemental package.