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House reps urge labeling UNRWA staff who joined Oct. 7 attacks as terrorists

“Reports and images quickly revealed the overlap between UNRWA and terrorist groups in the Gaza Strip,” a letter from the legislators stated.

An UNRWA school in eastern Jerusalem on Jan. 29, 2024. Photo by Jamal Awad/Flash90.
An UNRWA school in eastern Jerusalem on Jan. 29, 2024. Photo by Jamal Awad/Flash90.

Members of the U.S. House of Representatives want to see stronger action against 12 former employees of the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) for their involvement in the Hamas terrorist attacks in southern Israel on Oct. 7 that left 1,200 people dead and more than 250 taken hostage into the Gaza Strip.

Reps. Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.) and French Hill (R-Ark.) led a bipartisan May 16 letter co-signed by 49 other members of Congress to U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen.

The correspondence declared “great concern” since the federal government had not yet taken action against the terrorism-linked workers. “Following Hamas’s Oct. 7 terror attacks against Israel, reports and images quickly revealed the overlap between UNRWA and terrorist groups in the Gaza Strip,” the legislators wrote.

“We have clear evidence that at least 12 UNRWA employees participated in the Oct. 7 attack, resulting in the murder of more than 1,200 people, including 44 Americans. It’s time that the Treasury and State Department label them exactly what they are: terrorists,” Gottheimer told JNS. “We need real accountability to make sure no taxpayer dollars are funding terrorism.”

The congress members wrote that “according to the report, an UNRWA school social worker brought the body of a dead Israeli soldier back into the Gaza Strip, and helped coordinate ammunition and vehicle distribution before and during the attack.”

FDD Action has endorsed the letter.

“There is clear evidence that UNRWA employees materially assisted Hamas in the repugnant Oct. 7 massacre of Israelis, 31 Americans and 40 additional foreign nationals,” FDD Action stated. “These individuals should be designated under U.S. legal authorities. This would send a clear message not only to the individuals in question but to the organizations to which they belong that are recipients of U.S. taxpayer dollars that there are consequences for violating our laws.”

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