Photo Credit: IDF Spokesperson's Unit
These bombs and other ordnance were found hidden in UNRWA bags at a Jabalya mosque by soldiers from Israel's Nahal Brigade. December 2023.

The United States is suspending additional funding to the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East temporarily as it reviews charges that 12 UNRWA employees took part in Hamas’s Oct. 7 terror attack on Israel.

“The United States is extremely troubled by the allegations,” stated Matthew Miller, the U.S. State Department spokesman. Miller added that the United States is reviewing “the steps the United Nations is taking to address them.”


US Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke with António Guterres, UN secretary-general, on Jan. 25 “to emphasize the necessity of a thorough and swift investigation of this matter,” Miller stated on Friday.

“We welcome the decision to conduct such an investigation and Secretary General Guterres’s pledge to take decisive action to respond, should the allegations prove accurate,” Miller said. “We also welcome the UN’s announcement of a ‘comprehensive and independent’ review of UNRWA.”

“There must be complete accountability for anyone who participated in the heinous attacks of Oct. 7,” Miller added.

Washington has also contacted the Israeli government “to seek more information about these allegations” and has briefed members of Congress. “We will remain in close contact with the United Nations and government of Israel regarding this matter,” Miller said.

He added that UNRWA “plays a critical role in providing lifesaving assistance to Palestinians, including essential food, medicine, shelter and other vital humanitarian support.”

Britain, Canada Join US, Pause UNRWA Funding
The United Kingdom (Britain) and Canada immediately joined the US in suspending funding to the UN agency after UNRWA announced the termination of several staff members in response to allegations its employees were involved in the October 7th attacks in Israel.

The UK government said it was “appalled” by the allegations made by Israel.

Mark Regev, adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said Friday there was information showing teachers working in UNRWA schools had “openly celebrated” the 7 October attacks.

Regev also noted that a released Israeli hostage said that she had been held in the home of “someone who worked for UNRWA,” adding, “They have a union which is controlled by Hamas and I think it’s high time that the UN investigated these links between UNRWA and Hamas.”

The UK Foreign Office issued a statement condemning any involvement in the Oct. 7th attacks by United Nations personnel.

“The UK is appalled by allegations that UNRWA staff were involved in the 7 October attack against Israel, a heinous act of terrorism that the UK Government has repeatedly condemned,” the statement said. “The UK is temporarily pausing any future funding of UNWRA whilst we review these concerning allegations.”

Canada likewise immediately suspended funding to UNRWA when the agency’s involvement in the Oct. 7th attacks and atrocities was revealed.

“Canada welcomes United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’s direction that UNRWA swiftly investigate these extremely serious allegations. Canada has temporarily paused any additional funding to UNRWA while it undertakes a thorough investigation into these allegations.

“Should the allegations prove to be accurate, Canada expects UNRWA to immediately act against those determined to have been involved in Hamas’s terrorist attacks.

“As UNRWA undertakes this investigation, Canada will not reduce its support to the people of Gaza,” Hussen added. “Canada will continue to work with other partners to provide life-saving assistance to civilians in Gaza.”

Other Countries Join ‘Pause’ on UNRWA Funding
On Saturday, Italy and Finland joined the US, UK and Canada in suspending its funds to UNRWA following allegations of involvement of its staff in the Oct. 7 Hamas invasion of Israel and subsequent atrocities and slaughter.

“The Italian government has suspended financing of the UNRWA after the atrocious attack on Israel on October 7,” wrote Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani in a post on the X social media platform, adding that some of Italy’s allies had already taken the same decision.

Australia also announced Saturday that it was suspended additional funding to the UN agency.

Foreign Minister Penny Wong said in a statement that Australia was deeply concerned over allegations that UNRWA personnel were involved in the Oct. 7 attacks.

“Australia will engage closely with UNRWA on investigation and is consulting with international partners. While we do this, we will temporarily pause the disbursement of recently announced funding,” Wong said.

Finland’s Minister for Foreign Trade and Development, Ville Tavio (Finns), likewise announced in a release that the Scandinavian nation would pause funding to UNRWA over the allegations.

“We must make sure that not a single euro of Finland’s money goes to Hamas or other terrorists. The suspicion that employees of an organisation receiving humanitarian assistance are involved in a terrorist attack is the reason for suspending the payments. The case must be investigated thoroughly,” Tavio said.

UNRWA Probing Information Provided by Israel
UNRWA has long been accused of antisemitism, including that its teachers glorify Hamas’s Oct. 7 attack, that aid is passing through its hands to Hamas and that Hamas terrorists hide in its schools.

“The Israeli authorities have provided UNRWA with information about the alleged involvement of several UNRWA employees in the horrific attacks on Israel on Oct. 7,” stated Philippe Lazzarini, UNRWA commissioner-general.

“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,” Lazzarini said. “Any UNRWA employee who was involved in acts of terror will be held accountable, including through criminal prosecution.”

“UNRWA reiterates its condemnation in the strongest possible terms of the abhorrent attacks of Oct. 7 and calls for the immediate and unconditional release of all Israeli hostages and their safe return to their families,” he added. “These shocking allegations come as more than 2 million people in Gaza depend on lifesaving assistance that the agency has been providing since the war began. Anyone who betrays the fundamental values of the United Nations also betrays those whom we serve in Gaza, across the region and elsewhere around the world.”

‘Mountain of Information’ Ignored
Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), chair of the House Global Human Rights and International Organizations Subcommittee, referred to the Biden administration’s decision to suspend funding for UNRWA temporarily as “long overdue and still a feeble response to the massive and irrefutable evidence of UNRWA’s extensive and long-term connivance, complicity, and even cooperation in Hamas’s terror campaign.”

“When faced with the mountain of information, president [Donald] Trump suspended all US funding to UNRWA, but tragically, the Biden administration resumed support for UNRWA,” Smith stated. “Now, in view of public pressure motivated by explosive new evidence of UNRWA’s involvement in the Oct. 7 terror attack, the Biden administration has announced a review of the limited allegations relating to Oct. 7.”

“That’s totally insufficient,” he added. “What we need is a comprehensive, fact-based approach to UNRWA that stops all funding and conditions future funding on a complete head-to-toe reform and restructuring of UNRWA.”

Cesspool of Antisemitic Hate
Pastor John Hagee, founder and chairman of Christians United for Israel, stated that he he is “appalled, but I am not surprised.”

“The UN is a cesspool of anti-Israel hatred, and UNRWA is one of the primary organs associated with normalizing and institutionalizing international antisemitism,” he added. “Reinstating funding for UNRWA was a mistake. We knew UNRWA was complicit in Hamas’s antisemitic indoctrination of generations of Gazans, but it’s clear they’ve taken the next logical step: joining Hamas’s terrorist ranks.”

“While we welcome the decision to stop funding UNRWA, the Biden administration should make this temporary pause permanent,” added Sandra Parker, chair of CUFI Action Fund.

“Unfortunately, the State Department’s action in this context is typical of their too little, too late approach to the Middle East. No U.S. taxpayer dollars should’ve been flowing to UNRWA, just as no sanctions relief should’ve been provided Iran,” Parker added. “I’d love to believe the Biden administration has learned its lesson, but how much time do we really believe will pass before the White House turns the spigot back on?”

Calls to Make Funding Pause ‘Permanent’
Mark Mellman, president and CEO of the Democratic Majority for Israel, welcomed the State Department’s announcement.

“UN employees are required to be neutral in politics and to avoid criminal activity. UNRWA and its employees have long violated those principles. That UNRWA employees actively participated in savage terrorism is a deplorable and permanent stain on the U.N. and on UNRWA,” Mellman said. “Providing humanitarian aid to Palestinians is a vital objective, but it must be done in a way that doesn’t support terrorism.”

Democratic Majority for Israel has called regularly for UNRWA, which “has long incited hatred and violence,” to be reformed.

“Through its statements and actions, UNRWA has become a serious obstacle to peace. We now find that its employees also participate in mass murder, torture, and kidnapping. Donors must insist on a complete overhaul and reform of UNRWA,” Mellman said.

“We urge the administration to make the current pause the beginning of that root-and-branch remaking of this agency which is badly off track.”

JNS contributed to this report.

Share this article on WhatsApp:

Previous articleAlways Learning – January 2024
Next articleNYPD Warns Pro-Hamasniks: We Will ‘Flood’ Our Jail Cells With You
Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for, and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.