Latest News 18-06-2024 21:03 14 Views

‘Funding terrorism’: GOP lawmakers demand Blinken’s plan for keeping $404M Gaza aid from Hamas

A group of House Republicans is demanding to know the Biden administration's strategy for keeping its recent $404 million Gaza aid package out of Hamas' hands. 

Rep. Pat Fallon, R-Texas, a member of both the House Armed Services and Oversight committees, led a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Monday asking him to withhold the funds until his department can produce a 'detailed account' of how the flow of dollars will be safeguarded.

'While we understand the intent of this package is to provide food, drinking water, education, shelter, and more for civilians in a war zone, we have major concerns that a significant portion of the funds will inevitably end up in the hands of the State Department designated terrorist organization, Hamas,' Fallon led seven other Republicans in writing.

They pointed to accounts of Hamas seizing and diverting aid meant for civilians in Gaza who are struggling to survive amid Israel's war on the militant group. The lawmakers said that aid was being used 'for terrorist activities aimed at killing innocent civilians and advancing their stated goal of the destruction of the State of Israel.'

'The American people and the international community need assurances that funding for humanitarian aid does not end up funding terrorism,' the lawmakers wrote. 'It is the Biden Administration’s policy to support Israel, and indirect funding for Hamas would prove counterproductive to this mission by prolonging the war and increasing the death toll.'

Blinken unveiled the new aid package during a conference on Gaza humanitarian assistance in Jordan last week.

'Today, I’m announcing an additional $404 million in new aid to Palestinians in addition to the more than $1.8 billion in development, economic, and humanitarian aid that the United States has provided since 2021,' Blinken said. 'Let’s work together to ensure that more aid gets into Gaza, and once it’s in Gaza, reaches the people who need it the most – by land, by air, by sea.'

He also called on Israel to 'do more' to allow more aid into Gaza.

It brings the total amount of humanitarian aid sent by the U.S. into Gaza to more than $674 million since the conflict with Israel began, according to the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). 

Hamas militants invaded Israel on Oct. 7, 2023, slaughtering more than 1,000 people. 

'The Administration’s goal of providing aid to civilians impacted by the ongoing conflict is noble, but we cannot allow American tax dollars to end up in the hands of terrorists,' the Republican lawmakers wrote to Blinken. 'We will expect a detailed account of your strategy to maintain the integrity of this funding no later than 30 days from the sending of this notice. We also expect the funding to be halted until such a plan is approved and in place.'

A State Department spokesperson told Fox News Digital that the department does not comment on congressional correspondence as a matter of policy but added, 'However, we remain committed to providing humanitarian assistance to the most vulnerable populations and working with partners to get assistance to them while taking every possible measure to prevent it from landing with those it is not intended to reach.'


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