The Senate's $118.3 billion foreign aid and border security package includes funding for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), which employed 12 people accused by Israel of participating in the October 7 attack on Israeli civilians. is not included. .
The bill includes $10 billion in humanitarian aid to provide food, water, shelter and medical care to civilians in Ukraine and Gaza. Assistance to Palestinian civilians also includes guardrails to prevent diversion to Hamas and other terrorist organizations.
The bill would block UNRWA from receiving funding from the United States while allegations against former UNRWA officials are being investigated. But a Senate aide familiar with the policy said it would not reduce the total amount of humanitarian aid allocated to Gaza.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres announced last week that the nine former UNRWA employees facing charges had been fired. The United Nations announced that two other people were killed.
Progressive Sen. Bernie Sanders, R-Vermont, called on the administration last week to restore funding to relief agencies, warning that failure to do so risks a humanitarian disaster.
“Clearly, the association of the 13,000 UNRWA personnel in Gaza with Hamas is unacceptable and the charges against the 12 indicted must be investigated. We cannot allow people to suffer,” he said.
Kenneth Ross, former executive director of Human Rights Watch, said earlier Sunday that defunding UNRWA is “not the answer.”
“If some member of a police department commits a crime, we would hold that individual accountable rather than disbanding the entire police force,” he said before details of the Senate bill were made public. I wrote to X.
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