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February 16, 2024 | In The News

Florida Rep. Greg Steube Intros Bill To Defund UNRWA, Build Southern Border Wall

TAMPA FREE PRESS — Representative Greg Steube (R-Fla.) has introduced legislation to permanently ban US funding for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) and divert any unspent funds to border wall construction along America’s southern border.

“UNRWA blatantly supports Hamas. Americans are outraged that our tax dollars fund this antisemitic group. UNRWA staff were directly implicated in the ruthless killing of Israeli civilians on October 7th, and reportedly procured weapons for Hamas and assisted with logistical operations. It’s also been reported that UNRWA graduated at least 100 Hamas terrorists from its schools, further proving they seek to indoctrinate the next generation and further spread anti-Israel propaganda,” said Steube in a statement.

“President Trump was right to cut off UNRWA’s funding. It is despicable that Biden decided to re-start this funding, which has funneled hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars to a group that facilitates terrorist attacks on our allies,” said Rep. Steube. “My legislation will prevent a single American dollar from funding UNRWA and divert any unspent funding to America’s national security by continuing border wall construction. Our border is completely overrun, including by hundreds of terrorists. One thing is clear: walls work. Under Trump’s presidency, illegal crossings drastically decreased in areas where the wall was built.”

The legislation is cosponsored by Representatives Andy Ogles (R-Tenn), Randy Weber (R-Texas), Troy Nehls (R-Texas), Bill Posey (R-Fla.), and Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.). 

Senator John Kennedy (R-La.) introduced companion legislation on January 31, 2024 in the U.S. Senate.

“Hamas uses UNRWA facilities as a shield to perpetuate vicious antisemitic attacks against Israel, and it uses UNRWA resources to indoctrinate the people it is supposed to be caring for. UNRWA employees actively participated in violently massacring Israel civilians last October. The U.S. can’t keep bankrolling a corrupt group that helps Hamas attack our greatest ally in the Middle East, and the Biden administration can’t keep turning a blind eye to its border crisis,” said Kennedy.

Trump’s administration constructed over 400 miles of the world’s most robust and advanced border wall, and illegal crossings decreased by more than 87 percent where the wall was built.

UNRWA is one of the largest United Nations (U.N.) programs. The U.S. currently contributes more to UNRWA than any other nation, giving the Hamas-front group $343 million in 2022 alone after President Joe Biden reversed former President Donald Trump’s 2018 stop on aid to the group. 

Last month, Israel presented evidence to the agency, alleging that 12 people employed by UNRWA participated in Hamas attacks in Israel on October 7th, resulting in the death of approximately 1,200 people. UNRWA responded by firing nine individuals implicated in the attacks and is investigating the identities of two others.

According to the Israeli military, they uncovered a network of tunnels beneath the UNRWA headquarters in Gaza City. These tunnels were allegedly used by Hamas to store electrical supplies, while the UNRWA building itself was unknowingly providing electricity to these tunnels. The military also reported finding weapons inside rooms of the UNRWA building, including rifles and explosives.

UNRWA, on the other hand, claims they were unaware of what lay beneath their headquarters and evacuated the building back in October when Israel ordered people to leave Gaza City.

The allegations of UNRWA’s involvement in the tunnels and the October attacks prompted several countries, including the United States, to pause their funding. As of January 27th, UNRWA reported that nine countries had temporarily suspended their financial support.