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Are We Paying for Hamas?

September 24, 2009

You may not like paying for banks and their million-dollar executives and mortgage companies and car companies and more health insurance. But how do you feel about us United States taxpayers paying for anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli textbooks and giving our dollars to members of Hamas so they can buy bombs and rockets to destroy our brothers and sisters in Israel? Can you define the word, “absurd”?

 

In this time of rising unemployment, escalating health care costs, and record deficits, it would be nice to know where our dwindling taxpayer dollars are going. Did you know that you, the U.S. taxpayer, helped contribute to $148 million last year and over $3.4 billion over the last 59 years to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA)?

            Who is UNRWA and why should we care? Founded in 1949 as a temporary relief agency for Palestinian refugees, it has become the only agency dedicated to one group of refugees and is dedicated to serve all descendants, including grandchildren and great grandchildren, of the original 900,000 refugees in 1950. UNRWA serves Palestinian refugees in Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, the West Bank, and Gaza with its 24,000 estimated employees, four times as many as the UNHCR (U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees,) the agency dedicated to caring for 11.4 million refugees around the world.

How, you might wonder, do we know if UNRWA serves Hamas, the terrorist organization that intentionally kills Israeli citizens to achieve its announced goal of destroying the state of Israel?  Peter Hansen, commission-general of UNRWA in 2004, told the Canadian Broadcasting Corp., "I am sure that there are Hamas members on the UNRWA payroll, and I don’t see that as a crime." According to Congressman Steven Rothman of New Jersey, UNRWA has employed among others Said Sayyam, Hamas Minister of Interior and Civil Affairs, Awad al-Qiq, “who led Islamic Jihad’s engineering unit that built bombs and Qassam rockets,” and Nidal Abd al-Fattah Abdallah Nazzai, “who confessed in 2002 to transporting weapons and explosives to terrorists in an UNRWA ambulance.” Likewise, schools administered by UNRWA have produced several graduates affiliated with terrorism, including Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, and former Hamas chief, Abd al-Azis Rantisi.

Lanny Davis, special counsel to President Bill Clinton from 1996-1998, writes, “There is indisputable evidence that anti-Semitic and anti-Israel textbooks are being used in UNRWA-sponsored schools — including texts that contain negative references to Jews and omit entirely the state of Israel from maps.” (“Time for transparence and accountability for UNRWA,” Lanny Davis, The Hill, 09/09/09)

It would be nice to know what our tax dollars to this Palestinian organization are funding but financial accountability by UNRWA is negligible. According to the UNRWA Report of the Board of Auditors for the biennium ended Dec. 31, 2005, “UNRWA does not track recording, deleting, renaming or manipulation of financial information by staff members or volunteers, and therefore has no means of detecting the alteration of financial data or other types of redirection of UNRWA funding.”

If you would like to make a difference, tell your congressman to support House Concurrent Resolution 29, sponsored by Rothman and 31 other Democratic and Republican cosponsors. Resolution 29, which in January was referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, expresses “the sense of Congress that the United Nations should take immediate steps to improve the transparency and accountability of the UNRWA in the Near East to ensure that it is not providing funding, employment, or other support to terrorists.”

Resolution 29, which has been stalled since January, “strongly urges the Secretary of State to take all necessary measures to certify that United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA) operated in full compliance with section 301(c) of the Foreign Assistance Ace and therefore, no American taxpayer dollars are being directed to terrorists or to further terrorist propaganda.”

It’s easy to get angry about us taxpayers bailing out AIG and Fannie Mae and Chrysler and Citibank. It’s worrisome to many of us frustrated by economic stimulus packages and proposed health insurance legislation which will further put us in the hole. We are already borrowing from China and other countries to pay for our mounting debts. You may not like paying for banks and their million-dollar executives and mortgage companies and car companies and more health insurance. But how do you feel about us United States taxpayers paying for anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli textbooks and giving our dollars to members of Hamas so they can buy bombs and rockets to destroy our brothers and sisters in Israel? Can you define the word, “absurd”?

I think we could all agree with the basic premise of House Resolution 29 which states that “United States taxpayer dollars should never be used for purposes of supporting terrorist cells or activities that support terror or promote a culture of hatred at any of its locations.”

Tell your representative to take a few minutes away from health insurance debates and turn his or her attention to terrorism again. We must refuse any longer to pay for the destruction of Israel. In this time of the New Year and the high holidays, it’s the least we can do.

 

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