President Joe Biden's decision to reinstitute aid programs for Palestinians has been criticized for possibly supporting terrorist groups. The question of how Hamas, a known terrorist organization, obtained the funds to launch an attack against Israel has now been raised. Since assuming office, Biden has pledged hundreds of millions of dollars to the Palestinians, reversing Trump's decision to cut off aid because of Hamas' influence.
Just prior to the assault, a Biden administration watchdog raised concerns about the transparency of funding provided to the Palestinians. The watchdog reported that USAID officials had not adequately accounted for the dangers associated with providing aid in Gaza and the West Bank, including the possibility of funding local terrorist groups. Other aid organizations and nations opted not to collaborate with these groups, but a USAID official noted that restrictions limit the number of available partners.
Natuf for Environment and Community Development, which is supported by a Palestinian bank sanctioned by the United States and criticized by Israel for its affiliations to Hamas, appears to have received funding from the Biden administration. The State Department also provided funding to Fares Al-Arab, a group with ties to Gazan terrorism. Biden reinstated funding for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), which has been accused of promoting anti-Israel sentiments and collaborating with terrorist-affiliated organizations.
Due to UNRWA's history of employing Hamas-affiliated individuals and promoting antisemitism, Rep. Chip Roy and Sen. James Risch have promoted legislation to cut US funding for the organization. Despite concerns that aid to UNRWA and Palestinians could benefit Hamas, the Biden administration has shown no symptoms of slowing aid to these groups.
In March 2021, State Department documents disclosed that officials acknowledged that US assistance to Gaza could indirectly benefit Hamas. They discussed the necessity of a sanctions exemption to avoid violating anti-terrorism statutes, indicating that they were aware of the risks involved.
These findings raise significant questions regarding the efficacy and repercussions of US aid programs for Palestinians. The potential support of terrorist organizations should be taken seriously, and additional scrutiny should be applied to ensure that groups like Hamas do not receive aid inadvertently.