Nine countries, including the United States, have dropped funding for the United National Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) — the special refugee agency for Palestinians — after staff members were shown to have joined the Hamas terror attack October 7.
The U.S. dropped suspended for UNRWA on Friday after the agency fired 12 staffers after being presented by Israel with evidence against them. (Ironically, the Biden administration restored funding for UNRWA after President Donald Trump had canceled it.)
The Swiss parliament voted to defund UNRWA in December, after reports emerged that UNRWA staff had praised the October 7 terror attack, in which about 1,200 people were murdered. Several graduates of UNRWA schools were also among the terrorists.
But the Biden administration continued to defend its decision to fund UNRWA, as recently as earlier this month. President Biden not only restored funding, but paid UNRWA the money Trump had withheld. (The U.S. is the single largest donor to the agency.)
A report earlier this month by the watchdog organization UN Watch revealed that 3,000 UNRWA employees were on a Telegram group that praised the October 7 attack. But tthe revelation that UNRWA employees participated personally was the final straw.
As the Times of Israel noted, the United Kingdom and Finland followed the U.S. in canceling their UNRWA funding; then Italy cut off funds; then Germany, Scotland, Canada, Australia, the Netherlands, and Switzerland also ended their funding to UNRWA.
UNRWA Commissioner General Philippe Lazzarini made a desperate plea Saturday for funds to continue, despite the allegations against “a small group of staff.” Israel’s foreign minister, Israel Katz, simply tweeted in response: “Mr. Lazzarini please resign.”
The issue of UNRWA funding is typically an obscure one, but it could play a large role in the U.S. presidential election this year, as it is one of several examples of Trump policies that Biden reversed and was then forced to reinstate because the alternative failed.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the 2021 e-book, “The Zionist Conspiracy (and how to join it),” now updated with a new foreword. He is also the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.