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Did UNRWA Deceive the Secretary of State to Receive US Funding?

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken looks on, as U.S. President Joe Biden (not pictured) speaks about the conflict in Israel, after Hamas launched its biggest attack in decades, while making a statement about the crisis, at the White House in Washington, U.S. October 7, 2023. Photo: REUTERS/Elizabeth Frantz/File Photo

JNS.orgDuring the last decade, the annual U.S. Consolidated Appropriations Act conditioned U.S. aid to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) upon written certification from the Secretary of State that the organization satisfies a series of requirements.

One of those criteria requires the Secretary of State to report whether UNRWA complies with section 301(c) of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961. That section provides that the United States may not contribute to UNRWA unless the agency is taking “all possible measures to assure that no part of the U.S. contribution shall be used to furnish assistance to any refugee who is receiving military training as a member of the so-called Palestine Liberation Army or any other guerrilla type organization or who has engaged in any act of terrorism.”

While the “Palestine Liberation Army”—which was the military arm of the PLO—has practically ceased to exist, “other guerrilla type organization[s],” including Hamas, Fatah’s Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and others continue to exist and are actively engaged in acts of terror. All of these organizations, and others, are U.S.-designated terror organizations.

In the aftermath of the Oct. 7 massacre, in which Gazan terrorists murdered more than 1,200 people and committed wide-scale crimes of rape, torture and abduction, information has come to light indicating that at least 13 UNRWA employees actively participated in the massacre and another 1,200 UNRWA employees are active members of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

In a press briefing on Jan. 30 explicitly devoted to UNRWA and its connections to the massacre and terror, Israeli government spokesman Eylon Levy said:

“UNRWA has been aiding and abetting Hamas…. 13 UN employees participated in the Oct. 7 massacre…. UNRWA is riddled with Hamas members. Our intelligence indicates that out of approximately 12,000 UNRWA employees in the Gaza Strip, about 10% are Hamas or Islamic Jihad operatives.”

The Biden administration announced on Jan. 26 that it was pausing all future U.S. funding for UNRWA. But, according to Rep. Brian Mast (R-Fla.), the funding pause may have only been implemented after millions in taxpayer funds were pushed out the door.

According to the State Department spokesman, $121 million of UNRWA’s quarterly aid payment had already been provided. Only $300,000 is outstanding on the first tranche.

The U.S. aid to UNRWA is guided not only by American law but also by U.S.-UNRWA “Framework” agreements. The 2023-2024 Framework Agreement, signed May 20, 2023, similar to its predecessors included several fundamental provisions regarding UNRWA compliance with the provisions of section 301(c).

Despite the language of the law, which requires the Secretary of State himself to certify UNRWA compliance, the provisions of the Framework Agreement suggest that UNRWA serves as its own watchdog. The proverbial cat seems to be guarding the cream.

Why was Secretary Blinken unaware of Hamas members in UNRWA?

It is unreasonable to suggest that these 1,200 UNRWA employees were suddenly recruited since Secretary of State Blinken gave the previous certification last year. On the other hand, it is reasonable to assess that he was likely to have been intentionally and maliciously misled by UNRWA and its leadership on the affiliations of UNRWA staff and the recipients of UNRWA aid.

Accordingly, since UNRWA cannot meet the requirements and conditions of the Appropriations Act, particularly the requirements of section 301(c) of the Foreign Assistance Act, it would seem that the United States is positively prohibited from transferring any additional aid to UNRWA.

Furthermore, since the last certifications of Secretary Blinken were based on an intentional deception by UNRWA—in breach of its commitments in the Framework Agreement—the United States should also demand that UNRWA or the United Nations immediately refund all U.S. donations to UNRWA for the past three years at least.

Refraining from acting on this issue would place the United States in an untenable situation where it cannot rely on agreements with the United Nations and its organizations, while breaches of its agreements with them have no consequences. Silence on the subject also raises suspicion that the State Department was negligent, at best, in fulfilling its duties regarding the UNRWA fraud.

Originally published by The Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.

The post Did UNRWA Deceive the Secretary of State to Receive US Funding? first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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Israeli Official: ‘Important Operation’ in Yemen Sends Strong Message to Shiite Axis

Drones are seen at a site at an undisclosed location in Iran, in this handout image obtained on April 20, 2023. Photo: Iranian Army/WANA (West Asia News Agency)/Handout via REUTERS

i24 NewsA senior Israeli security official spoke to i24NEWS on Saturday on condition of the retaliatory strike carried out by the Israel Air Force against the Houthi jihadists in Yemen.

“This is an important operation which signals that there’s room for further escalation, and sends a very strong message to the entire Shiite axis.”

“We understood there is a high probability of counter attacks, but if we do not respond, the meaning is even worse. Israel has updated the US prior to the operation.”

The strike on Hodeida came after long-range Iranian-made drone hit a building in central Tel Aviv, killing one man and wounded several others.

The post Israeli Official: ‘Important Operation’ in Yemen Sends Strong Message to Shiite Axis first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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IDF Confirms Striking ‘Terrorist Houthi Regime’ in Yemen’s Hodeida

Houthi leader Abdul-Malik al-Houthi addresses followers via a video link at the al-Shaab Mosque, formerly al-Saleh Mosque, in Sanaa, Yemen, Feb. 6, 2024. Photo: REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah

i24 NewsThe Israeli military on Saturday confirmed striking a port in Yemen controlled by the Houthi jihadists, a day after the Iranian proxy group perpetrated a deadly drone attack on Tel Aviv.

“A short while ago, IDF fighter jets struck military targets of the Houthi terrorist regime in the area of the Al Hudaydah Port in Yemen in response to the hundreds of attacks carried out against the State of Israel in recent months.”

After Houthi drone attack on Tel Aviv, reports and footage out of Yemen of air strikes hitting Hodeida

— Video used in accordance with clause 27A of Israeli copyright law pic.twitter.com/d2uE16ZzQ1

— i24NEWS English (@i24NEWS_EN) July 20, 2024

Yoav Gallant, the defense minister, issued a statement saying “The fire that is currently burning in Hodeidah, is seen across the Middle East and the significance is clear. The Houthis attacked us over 200 times. The first time that they harmed an Israeli citizen, we struck them. And we will do this in any place where it may be required.”

“The blood of Israeli citizens has a price,” Gallant added. “This has been made clear in Lebanon, in Gaza, in Yemen, and in other places – if they will dare to attack us, the result will be identical.”

Gallant: ‘The fire currently burning in Hodeida is seen across the region and the significance is clear… The blood of Israeli citizens has a price, as has been made clear in Lebanon, in Gaza, in Yemen and in other places – if they dare attack us, the result will be identical.’ pic.twitter.com/DmHjwfHtPV

— i24NEWS English (@i24NEWS_EN) July 20, 2024

The post IDF Confirms Striking ‘Terrorist Houthi Regime’ in Yemen’s Hodeida first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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One Part of Cyprus Mourns, the Other Rejoices 50 Years After Split

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan leaves after attending a military parade to mark the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus in response to a short-lived Greek-inspired coup, in the Turkish-controlled northern Cyprus, in the divided city of Nicosia, Cyprus July 20, 2024. Photo: REUTERS/Yiannis Kourtoglou

Greek Cypriots mourned and Turkish Cypriots rejoiced on Saturday, the 50th anniversary of Turkey’s invasion of part of the island after a brief Greek inspired coup, with the chances of reconciliation as elusive as ever.

The ethnically split island is a persistent source of tension between Greece and Turkey, which are both partners in NATO but are at odds over numerous issues.

Their differences were laid bare on Saturday, with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan attending a celebratory military parade in north Nicosia to mark the day in 1974 when Turkish forces launched an offensive that they call a “peace operation.”

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis was due later on Saturday to attend an event in the south of the Nicosia to commemorate what Greeks commonly refer to as the “barbaric Turkish invasion.” Air raid sirens sounded across the area at dawn.

Mitsotakis posted an image of a blood-stained map of Cyprus on his LinkedIn page with the words “Half a century since the national tragedy of Cyprus.”

There was jubilation in the north.

“The Cyprus Peace Operation saved Turkish Cypriots from cruelty and brought them to freedom,” Erdogan told crowds who gathered to watch the parade despite stifling midday heat, criticizing the south for having a “spoiled mentality” and seeing itself as the sole ruler of Cyprus.

Peace talks are stalled at two seemingly irreconcilable concepts – Greek Cypriots want reunification as a federation. Turkish Cypriots want a two-state settlement.

Erdogan left open a window to dialogue although he said a federal solution, advocated by Greek Cypriots and backed by most in the international community, was “not possible.”

“We are ready for negotiations, to meet, and to establish long-term peace and resolution in Cyprus,” he said.

Cyprus gained independence from Britain in 1960, but a shared administration between Greek and Turkish Cypriots quickly fell apart in violence that saw Turkish Cypriots withdraw into enclaves and led to the dispatch of a U.N. peacekeeping force.

The crisis left Greek Cypriots running the internationally recognized Republic of Cyprus, a member of the European Union since 2004 with the potential to derail Turkey’s own decades-long aspirations of joining the bloc.

It also complicates any attempts to unlock energy potential in the eastern Mediterranean because of overlapping claims. The region has seen major discoveries of hydrocarbons in recent years.

REMEMBERING THE DEAD

Cypriot President Nikos Christodoulides, whose office represents the Greek Cypriot community in the reunification dialogue, said the anniversary was a somber occasion for reflection and for remembering the dead.

“Our mission is liberation, reunification and solving the Cyprus problem,” he said. “If we really want to send a message on this tragic anniversary … it is to do anything possible to reunite Cyprus.”

Turkey, he said, continued to be responsible for violating human rights and international law over Cyprus.

Across the south, church services were held to remember the more than 3,000 people who died in the Turkish invasion.

“It was a betrayal of Cyprus and so many kids were lost. It wasn’t just my son, it was many,” said Loukas Alexandrou, 90, as he tended the grave of his son at a military cemetery.

In Turkey, state television focused on violence against Turkish Cypriots prior to the invasion, particularly on bloodshed in 1963-64 and in 1967.

Turkey’s invasion took more than a third of the island and expelled more than 160,000 Greek Cypriots to the south.

Reunification talks collapsed in 2017 and have been at a stalemate since. Northern Cyprus is a breakaway state recognized only by Turkey, and its Turkish Cypriot leadership wants international recognition.

The post One Part of Cyprus Mourns, the Other Rejoices 50 Years After Split first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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