US Senator Slams Israeli Claims About UNRWA as ‘Flat-Out Lies’

by | Mar 17, 2024

US Senator Slams Israeli Claims About UNRWA as ‘Flat-Out Lies’

by | Mar 17, 2024

chris van hollen official portrait 115th congress

A Democratic Senator blasted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other leaders in Tel Aviv for making false accusations about aid agencies operating in Gaza. Tel Aviv has charged the UN aid agency for Palestinians (UNRWA) with acting as a proxy of Hamas. 

Sen. Chris Van Hollen said, on “Face the Nation,” that Netnayhu’s accusations against UNRWA were an attempt to eliminate the aid agency. “There’s no doubt that the claim that Prime Minister Netanyahu and others are making, that somehow UNRWA is a proxy for Hamas, are just flat-out lies,” he explained. “That’s a flat-out lie. If you look at the person who’s in charge of operations on the ground in Gaza for UNRWA, it’s about a 20-year US Army veteran. You can be sure he is not in cahoots with Hamas. Netanyahu has wanted to get rid of UNRWA since at least 2017.”

In January, Tel Aviv claimed it had compiled an intelligence dossier that showed extensive ties between Hamas and the aid agency, including that 12 UNRWA employees participated in the October 7 attack. However, over the past two months, Israel has failed to produce evidence to back the allegations. Additionally, an UNRWA investigation has uncovered evidence that the Israelis used torture to generate false confessions from Palestinians. 

After Israel made the charges against UNRWA, the US, and 15 other countries, cut funding for the aid agency. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the accusations were “highly, highly credible.”

As the Israeli case against UNRWA has started to crumble, three countries – Australia, Sweden, and Canada – have restored their funding for the agency. 

UNRWA is crucial for providing life-saving aid to Palestinians in Gaza. Still, its workers and buildings have come under frequent attack during Israel’s five-month onslaught. At least 165 UNRWA workers have been killed. Last week, Israel targeted a food distribution center in Rafah, killing five people

About Kyle Anzalone

Kyle Anzalone is news editor of the Libertarian Institute, opinion editor of Antiwar.com and co-host of Conflicts of Interest with Will Porter and Connor Freeman.

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