The Biden administration announced on Wednesday that it will provide Palestinians with $235 million in US aid, resuming assistance that was cut off by the Trump administration. The aid package includes $150 million for the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which Israel quickly denounced.
UNRWA provides assistance to millions of Palestinian refugees in the West Bank, Gaza, Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan. Israel claims the organization is “anti-Semitic” and a threat to the Jewish State, which was enough for the Trump administration to eliminate US funding for UNRWA.
Gilad Erdan, Israel’s ambassador to the US and the UN, slammed President Biden’s decision to resume funding for UNRWA. “Israel strongly opposes renewing funding for @UNRWA, an anti-Semitic agency that incites against Israel and uses a twisted definition of who is a ‘refugee,’ Erdan said on Twitter. “Rather than solving the conflict, UNRWA perpetuates it. Any return to funding it must be contingent on essential reforms.”
Pro-Israel US lawmakers are on the case to get the UNRWA funding suspended. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) has prepared a draft letter that will be sent to President Biden, which about a dozen Republicans are expected to sign.
Cruz’s letter reads: “We call on you to halt these expenditures until the State Department accounts for statutory restrictions and remedies known deficiencies in the distribution of such assistance, which have for years promoted and facilitated terrorism against Americans and Israelis.”