Republican lawmakers repeatedly equated support staff with Hamas terrorists throughout a heated listening to Tuesday as they known as for the U.S. authorities to completely cease funding the United Nations company liable for serving to Palestinian refugees in Gaza.

Final week, the U.S. and greater than a dozen different international locations paused support to the United Nations Aid and Works Company for Palestine Refugees within the Close to East (UNRWA), the biggest support group in war-torn Gaza. The sanctions got here in response to an intelligence report from Israel alleging that 12 of UNRWA’s roughly 13,000 workers had been concerned Hamas’ lethal Oct. 7 assault on Israel. The Wall Road Journal reported final week that some 10% of the group’s staffers have ties to Islamist militant teams, citing intelligence paperwork.

“The United Nations relief workers agency is a terrorist-supporting entity, ladies and gentlemen,” Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.) stated at Tuesday’s Home Overseas Affairs committee listening to.

Rep. Christopher Smith (R-N.J.) known as UNRWA, the first supply of humanitarian support to tens of millions of individuals in Gaza, the “identical twin” of Hamas.

With out proof, Rep. Wealthy McCormick (R-Ga.) claimed that Hamas was much more deeply embedded in UNRWA than Israeli intelligence recommended.

WASHINGTON, DC – JANUARY 30: Demonstrators stage a protest throughout a listening to earlier than the Subcommittee on Oversight and Accountability of Home Overseas Affairs Committee on the U.S. Capitol on January 30, 2024 in Washington, DC. The subcommittee held a listening to titled “UNRWA Exposed: Examining the Agency’s Mission and Failures.” (Photograph by Alex Wong/Getty Photos)

Alex Wong through Getty Photos

“Those 12 employees are just the tip of the iceberg when you talk about possibly thousands of employees’ loyalty to Hamas and antisemitic and anti-American interests,” he stated.

Rep. Brian Mast (R-Fla.) pointed to an absence of Hamas mentions on UNRWA’s social media pages as proof of the company’s complicity.

“It is clear that UNRWA would never use its platform to speak out against Hamas, because it is in cahoots with Hamas,” he claimed.

The Sunday Evaluation reached out to UNRWA for remark Tuesday night and has but to listen to again.

The company confirmed final week that it had ended “several” workers’ contracts following Israel’s experiences and that it had ordered its personal investigation into the matter. However its commissioner normal, Philippe Lazzarini, stated over the weekend that the choice to halt funding is unconscionable.

“It would be immensely irresponsible to sanction an Agency and an entire community it serves because of allegations of criminal acts against some individuals, especially at a time of war, displacement and political crises in the region,” he said.

Rep. Jason Crow (D-Colo.) echoed these sentiments at Tuesday’s listening to.

“The horrifying and inexcusable actions of roughly a dozen people should not speak for the over 13,000 UNRWA employees in Gaza,” he stated.

Your entire inhabitants of Gaza is at present dealing with famine until Israel restores entry to meals, clear water, sanitation and different necessities, the World Meals Program warned final month.

“Humanitarian aid and conflict zones must continue. And it’s difficult under the best of circumstances. And we know that conditions in Gaza are far from that,” Crow continued.

Republicans argued on the listening to that different businesses, such because the U.N. Excessive Fee for Refugees and the World Meals Program, might tackle the work of UNRWA, which has been delivering support within the Palestinian territories since 1949.

However reduction consultants say that’s an unreasonable proposal. Anticipating different support teams to fill within the gaps left by UNRWA is “magical thinking,” Janti Soeripto, president and CEO of Save the Youngsters, told The Sunday Evaluation on Monday.

The newest battle within the area erupted when Hamas killed about 1,200 Israelis in an assault in October. Israel launched an offensive in response, and greater than 26,000 individuals in Gaza have been killed within the ensuing battle.