A group of US Congressmen are demanding that the State Department investigate and justify US financial aid to the UN Reliefs and Works Agency (UNRWA). Their campaign comes amid charges that the organization actively incites and radicalizes "Palestinian refugees."
UNRWA was founded in 1950 to provide assistance to the roughly 700,000 Arabs who fled Israel during the War of Independence. It was founded as an entirely independent entity to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) which deals with all other refugees.
Instead of resettling them, UNRWA continues to financially support the descendants of "Palestinian refugees", who now number over 5 million. Moreover, unlike any other group of refugees "Palestinian refugee" status is "inherited" by all future descendants, leading to allegations that UNRWA actively participates in the politicization of the "refugee issue" as part of efforts to attack Israel.
In contrast, the roughly one million Jewish refugees from Arab countries since 1948 were not granted any such aid by the UN, and have since been fully repatriated and integrated into the countries to which they fled - primarily Israel.
The congressmen Jim Gerlach, Patrick Meehan, Charles W. Dent and Mike Fitzpatrick in a November 20 letter called on the State Department to disclose how it directly oversees UNRWA's funding and activities.
In particular they called for concrete examples of how the State Department ensures compliance with US law and address allegations that US funded UNRWA educational programs "promote violence, anti-Semitism and religious extremism among Palestinian refugees."
The concerns are very real, as a documentary earlier this year exposed the radical indoctrination conducted in UNRWA children's camps.
A response to the congressmen's first correspondence sent September 17 cites internal UNRWA review following the documentary to justify continued funding, but the congressmen in their follow-up pushed for proof the US has conducted an independent investigation of the programs.
Currently the US is the largest single state donor to the UNRWA's annual $650 million budget.
However, even despite US aid UNRWA is failing financially.
Last Tuesday it was announced that UNRWA will not be paying wages to its thousands of workers in the month of December due to a growing financial crisis.