The revelation of employees associated with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East taking part in the Oct. 7 terrorist attacks perpetrated by Hamas on southern Israel has brought members of the U.S. House of Representatives together to advocate for accountability from those leading the international body.
Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.) and 11 other Congress members on both sides of the aisle sent a letter on Feb. 5 to U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, urging him to call for the resignation of U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres and Philippe Lazzarini, UNRWA’s commissioner-general.
“There is no question that both the U.N. and UNRWA need to be held accountable, and the bipartisan support on this letter shows that,” Gottheimer told JNS. “We must ensure that our tax dollars are not going to support terrorist organizations. Instead, they must go to provide the critical humanitarian aid needed for Palestinians being used as human shields by Hamas.”
The letter said the representatives had lost all confidence in Guterres’ ability to ensure that the United Nations “is not actively supporting terrorism or giving refuge to known terrorists.”
The group asked Blinken to demand that Guterres and Lazzarini immediately resign from their posts, as “they can no longer be entrusted to maintain international peace and security, protect all nations and uphold international law.”
In addition to Gottheimer, others signing the letter included Rep. Don Bacon (R-Neb.), Rep. Anthony D’Esposito (R-N.Y.), Rep. Donald Davis (D-N.C.), Rep. Brian Mast (R-Fla.), Rep. Max Miller (R-Ohio), Rep. Jared Moskowitz (D-Fla.), Rep. Brad Schneider (D-Ill.), Rep. Michelle Steel (R-Calif.), Rep. Haley Stevens (D-Mich.), Rep. Claudia Tenney (R-N.Y.) and Rep. Ritchie Torres (D-N.Y.).