Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a radical leftist, has criticized the Biden administration for its decision to halt financing for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), sparking a contentious dispute.
Ocasio-Cortez expressed her disgust on social media on Monday, January 29, denouncing the decision to stop funding UNRWA, the main organization providing humanitarian help to more than two million Gazans. The Biden administration’s decision on Friday, which came after it was discovered that UNRWA employees had participated in the October 7 Hamas terror attack against Israel, served as the impetus for her remarks.
Ocasio-Cortez tweeted her disgust, noting that she found it intolerable that UNRWA, the main organization providing humanitarian aid to over two million Gazans, was being cut off. She stated that it was unjustifiable to put millions of people’s lives in danger over accusations made against a small number of relief workers, and she demanded that aid be restored right away.
Conversely, John Kirby, a spokesperson for the National Security Council, supported UNRWA’s wider achievements, highlighting its vital work in the region, especially in Gaza, where it has saved thousands of lives. Kirby advised against holding the entire agency accountable for the deeds of a handful of individuals who are the subject of grave accusations.
At the same time, the Wall Street Journal stated that Israeli intelligence had established links between about 10% of UNRWA employees and Palestinian Islamic Jihad or Hamas, as well as the involvement of 12 UNRWA personnel in the Hamas attack. In addition, it is reported that half of the cohort of 12,000 individuals had close relatives who belong to one of the two groups.
When he took office in 2021, President Biden undid the financing for UNRWA that had been stopped by former President Donald Trump in 2018. Since then, the US has given the organization at least $730 million, even in the face of evidence that UNRWA educators have fostered anti-Israel sentiment.
Opponents of Ocasio-Cortez’s position, such as podcast host Noam Blum and Newsweek opinion editor Batya Ungar-Sargon, drew attention to the purported connections between UNRWA staff members and terrorist groups. Former US Representative Joe Walsh demanded that UNRWA be dissolved, highlighting the organization’s widespread backing for Hamas.