The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) supports the Rothman-Kirk letter urging Secretary of State Hillary Clinton “to establish a moratorium on U.S. contributions to UNRWA” until it has been determined that UNRWA is not financially aiding and abetting Hamas or other foreign terrorist organizations. The ZOA applauds Rep. Rep. Steven Rothman (D-NJ, 9th District) and Rep. Mark Kirk (R-IL, 10th District) for stepping across party lines to come together on this issue, and calls upon their colleagues in the House of Representatives to sign onto this letter as soon as possible. The full text of the letter is below.
As the Rothman-Kirk letter states: “According to UNRWA’s own reports, UNRWA employees left their jobs to run as Hamas candidates in the last Palestinian election. We know that UNRWA schools are used as launching pads for rocket attacks against Israel. UNRWA’s own representative in New York, Andrew Whitley, revealed to congressional staff that UNRWA provided Cash Assistance to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers.”
Daniel Pollak and Joshua London of ZOA’s Division of Government Relations in Washington, DC said: “UNRWA was established nearly 60 years ago as a temporary agency in 1949, yet over the last six decades the number of UNRWA beneficiaries in the 59 Refugee camps has increased by over 400% to roughly 4.5 million. Further, UNRWA employs approximately 24,000 staffers to care for these people. This is nearly 6 times the number of staffers employed by the United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees (UNHCR) which cares for 11.4 million refugees globally. UNHCR, in marked contrast to UNWRA, explicitly works to resettle its refugee populations so that they might resume normal lives. Instead, UNRWA seeks merely to perpetuate and increase its refugee populations so as to exacerbate conflict and derail any hopes that the Palestinian people might one day recognize the legitimacy of Israel as a Jewish State and learn to live in peaceful accord with the Israeli people. To this end, UNRWA actively (if unofficially) employs, affiliates with, and provides benefits to known terrorists and terrorist organizations, and works hard to educate Palestinians in the most virulent and violent forms of irredentist anti-Israel and Anti-Semitic dogma. Most disturbingly, the United States is the single largest donor to UNWRA (nearly 75%) and has contributed more than $3,400,000,000 since 1950. In 2008, the United States gifted $184.68 million to UNRWA, and then gave an additional $85 million at the end of December 2008. This must stop. Not one cent of U.S. taxpayer dollars should go to UNRWA so long as there is any chance that such money can be redirected to terrorists, or to activities that support terror or that promote a culture of hatred. We commend Rep. Rothman and Rep. Kirk for this effort and urge their colleagues to sign on in support of this letter.”
ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said: “UNRWA’s long record of collaborating with Palestinian terrorists against Israel is a gross violation of its declared purpose, to provide humanitarian aid to refugees and undermines every single American foreign policy objective in the region. The time has come for the U.S. to suspend its financial contributions to UNRWA. Until such time as UNRWA ceases to be a fundamental part of the problem, let the wealthy Arab oil sheikhdoms shoulder the burden of caring for their Arab brethren in those camps.”
We encourage you to contact your Representative to express your support for the Rothman-Kirk letter asking Secretary Clinton to stop direct contributions to UNWRA, and urge them to support this effort and sign on to this letter.
Phone 202-224-3121 & ask for your Member of the House of Representatives. Alternatively, you can obtain this information through our website here by CLICKING HERE.
TEXT OF ROTHMAN-KIRK LETTER:
Department of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20520
Dear Madame Secretary:
We write with concern over continued U.S. contributions to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA).
Public Law No. 110-161, enacted on December 26, 2007, directed the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to determine whether any Palestinian terrorists receive funding from UNRWA’s Cash Assistance or Emergency Cash Assistance Programs, whether UNRWA has control mechanisms in place to prevent such payments, and whether it is possible to certify UNRWA’s compliance with section 301(c) of the Foreign Assistance Act. This review is still pending.
According to UNRWA’s own reports, UNRWA employees left their jobs to run as Hamas candidates in the last Palestinian election. We know that UNRWA schools are used as launching pads for rocket attacks against Israel. UNRWA’s own representative in New York, Andrew Whitley, revealed to congressional staff that UNRWA provided Cash Assistance to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers.
As you know, Hamas is a designated foreign terrorist organization responsible for the murders of 26 American citizens (Annex 1). While we encourage bilateral assistance to support Palestinians opposed to the Hamas ideology of terror and destruction, we remain concerned that U.S. taxpayer contributions to UNRWA may reach Hamas terrorists responsible for the murders of 26 American citizens.
Therefore, we urge you to establish a moratorium on U.S. contributions to UNRWA until the GAO reports back to Congress as directed by Public Law No. 110-161. Until that time, the United States should support Palestinians opposed to the Hamas ideology of terror and destruction through bilateral assistance mechanisms.
Steven R. Rothman Mark Steven Kirk
Member of Congress Member of Congress
Annex 1: David Applebaum of Ohio; Nava Applebaum, 20, of Ohio; Alan Beer of Ohio; Marla Bennet of California; Benjamin Blutstein of Pennsylvania; David Boim, 17, of New York; Yael Botwin, 14, of California; Dina Carter of North Carolina; Janis Ruth Coulter of Massachusetts; Sara Duker of New Jersey; Matthew Eisenfeld of Connecticut; Tzvi Goldstein of New York; Judith Greenbaum of New Jersey; David Gritz of Massachusetts; Dina Horowitz of Florida; Rabbi Eli Horowitz of Illinois; Tehilla Nathanson, 3, of New York; Malka Roth, 15, of New York; Mordechai Reinitz of New York; Yitzhak Reinitz, 9, of New York; Leah Stern of New Jersey; Goldie Taubenfeld of New York; Shmuel Taubenfeld, 3 months, of New York; Nachshon Wachsman, 19, of New York; Ira Weinstein of New York; and Yitzhak Weinstock, 19, of California.
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The Zionist Organization of America, founded in 1897, is the oldest pro-Israel organization in the United States. The ZOA works to strengthen U.S.-Israel relations, educates the American public and Congress about the dangers that Israel faces, and combats anti-Israel bias in the media and on college campuses. Its past presidents have included Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis and Rabbi Dr. Abba Hillel Silver.