WASHINGTON – US Sen. James Risch (R-Idaho), the ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has spearheaded a letter by 20 senators to Secretary of State Antony Blinken “expressing concern” over the Biden administration’s decision to renew funding for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).The senators called the administration to halt the funding “until significant reforms to UNRWA are secured.”“We are concerned that this administration’s decision to resume US assistance to UNRWA was made in haste, without any actionable attempt to secure much-needed and meaningful reforms of the agency,” they wrote. “Beyond its inflated and duplicative structure, there are serious concerns about the impartiality of UNRWA.”“Over the years, the agency has employed individuals affiliated with Hamas, a US-designated terrorist organization,” they added. “UNRWA schools have been used to store Hamas weapons.”Regarding UNRWA textbooks, the senators wrote: “There have been numerous cases of UNRWA textbooks including material that is antisemitic, such as encouraging the destruction of the state of Israel and supporting martyrdom and/or violent jihad.“It is troubling that these issues regarding the impartiality of UNRWA, including its education system, have yet to be sufficiently addressed despite this administration’s decision to restore US funding.”“Due to the significance of this issue, we urge you to cease US government assistance to UNRWA unless true reform, as described above, is secured,” the senators concluded.They called on Blinken to require independent verification that all UNRWA employees and workers of the agency’s partner organizations and contracting entities are not affiliated with Hamas, Hezbollah or other foreign terrorist organizations.They also urged Blinken to require independent verification that textbooks used by UNRWA do not include extremist and antisemitic content.Their third request was “a policy of automatic suspension of all US assistance to UNRWA if UNRWA facilities are used to house arms/equipment involved in terrorist activity.”Blinken’s announcement of a $235 million package earlier this month, including $150m. to UNRWA, was seen as the first step in the restoration of bilateral ties with the Palestinian Authority that had been severed by the Trump administration.Another $75m. of that package was earmarked for economic and development assistance, and $10m. was granted for peace-building programs. Source
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Romans 6:23 "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."
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