The Department of State, under the Biden administration, has been accused of funding an organization in Gaza that has ties to Palestinian terrorists. The organization in question is the Phoenix Center for Research and Field Studies, which claims to help Palestinian communities in various aspects. However, it has been revealed that the center has partnered with leaders from Palestinian Islamic Jihad and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, two designated terrorist groups, according to the Israeli watchdog NGO Monitor.
This revelation has sparked outrage among Republicans, who argue that the State Department should not be using taxpayer money to support terrorist activities. Representative Chris Smith, a Republican from New Jersey, called the funding “deeply disturbing” and raised concerns about the State Department’s vetting process for grants.
Republicans have criticized the Biden administration for its handling of Palestinian aid, accusing it of disregarding national security and human rights concerns. The State Department had previously expressed concerns about Hamas potentially accessing the aid. GOP members argue that this funding to the Phoenix Center for Research and Field Studies is another misstep.
The center received a total of $90,000 in taxpayer-backed grants for two projects. The grants were awarded for projects related to promoting diversity and enhancing skills in public speaking and digital networking, as well as raising awareness of IT trends and providing networking opportunities. The State Department has not yet provided a comment on the matter.
The accusations against the Phoenix Center for Research and Field Studies include holding discussions with senior members of Palestinian Islamic Jihad and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. These groups have been responsible for attacks against Israel, including plane hijackings and bombings. The center’s programs director, Salah Abdalati, has also expressed support for these terror groups and their members.
Republicans are calling for greater oversight and accountability when it comes to funding organizations with ties to terrorism. They argue that if taxpayer dollars are indeed flowing to these groups, someone should be held responsible. The House Foreign Affairs Committee plans to hold a hearing on the implementation of the Taylor Force Act, a law that aims to stop U.S. aid to the Palestinian Authority until it stops providing stipends to terrorists and their families. Republicans on the committee are also planning to write a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken for answers regarding funding to the Phoenix Center for Research and Field Studies.
Critics of the Biden administration argue that these funding actions demonstrate a hostility towards Israel. Morton Klein, president of the Zionist Organization of America, called the administration the “most hostile to Israel” that we’ve ever seen.