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April 8, 2021 12:58 pm

Former Ambassador Nikki Haley Slams US Resumption of UNRWA Funding as ‘Wasting Millions of American Tax Dollars’

avatar by Algemeiner Staff

US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley speaks at a Security Council meeting on the Middle East, Dec. 18, 2018. Photo: Reuters / Shannon Stapleton.

Former US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley slammed the Biden administration’s decision to resume funding the UN’s Palestinian refugee agency on Thursday, calling it a waste of tax dollars and an obstacle to peace.

The US announced on Wednesday that it would renew $150 million in funding for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), along with other aid to the West Bank and Gaza, reversing a 2018 decision by the Trump administration.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that the US was “pleased to announce that, working with Congress, we plan to restart US economic, development, and humanitarian assistance for the Palestinian people.”

Ambassador Haley strongly criticized the decision, telling The Algemeiner, “The Palestinian aid agency UNRWA is among the most corrupt and counterproductive of all UN agencies. President Trump was right to abandon it.”

“President Biden is wasting millions of American tax dollars and undermining the great progress being made on Middle East peace,” she asserted.

A group of Republican senators also objected to the White House’s decision. Bloomberg reported that the lawmakers, led by Sen. Ted Cruz, sent a letter to President Joe Biden saying, “We call on you to halt these expenditures until the State Department accounts for statutory restrictions and remedies known deficiencies in the distribution of such assistance, which have for years promoted and facilitated terrorism against Americans and Israelis.”

“The Biden‐Harris administration should focus on the necessary programs Congress has consistently envisioned, and for which it has appropriated resources and carved out exceptions from restrictions on assistance, including those related to critical medical and wastewater sanitation programs that the Palestinian people immediately need,” the letter asserted.

Israel’s envoy to the UN Gilad Erdan criticized the administration’s move on Wednesday, saying that “Israel is strongly opposed to the anti-Israel and antisemitic activity happening in UNRWA’s facilities.”

“We believe that this UN agency for so-called ‘refugees’ should not exist in its current format,” he said in a statement. “UNRWA schools regularly use materials that incite against Israel and the twisted definition used by the agency to determine who is a ‘refugee’ only perpetuates the conflict.”

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