Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) is urging the United States to reinstate funding to a United Nations agency, despite a damning report. In response to the announcement that the U.S. would temporarily halt funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) due to allegations of employee involvement in Hamas’ attack in Israel on October 7th, the progressive congresswoman expressed her support for restoring the funding.
“Cutting off support to [UNRWA] – the primary source of humanitarian aid to 2 million+ Gazans – is unacceptable,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote.
She added, “Among an organization of 13,000 UN aid workers, risking the starvation of millions over grave allegations of 12 is indefensible. The US should restore aid immediately.”
Cutting off support to @UNRWA – the primary source of humanitarian aid to 2 million+ Gazans – is unacceptable.
Among an organization of 13,000 UN aid workers, risking the starvation of millions over grave allegations of 12 is indefensible.
The US should restore aid immediately.
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) January 29, 2024
In an official statement released on Friday, Matthew Miller, the spokesperson for the State Department, acknowledged the accusations made against 12 UNRWA employees for their alleged involvement in the attack carried out by Hamas on October 7th in Israel.
“The Department of State has temporarily paused additional funding for UNRWA while we review these allegations and the steps the United Nations is taking to address them,” Miller said.
The declaration follows the United Nations (UN) announcement of its ongoing investigation into the allegations concerning UNRWA employees.
A UNRWA Commissioner-General said, “The Israeli authorities have provided UNRWA with information about the alleged involvement of several UNRWA employees in the horrific attacks on Israel on October 7.”
“To protect the agency’s ability to deliver humanitarian assistance, I have taken the decision to immediately terminate the contracts of these staff members and launch an investigation in order to establish the truth without delay,” he added.
Reuters notes, “Lazzarini did not disclose the number of employees allegedly involved in the attacks, nor the nature of their alleged involvement. He said, however, that ‘any UNRWA employee who was involved in acts of terror’ would be held accountable, including through criminal prosecution.”
A spokesperson for UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said he “is horrified by this news.”
“An urgent and comprehensive independent review of UNRWA will be conducted,” they added.