Scores State Dept. on UNWRA oversight

Scores State Dept. on UNWRA oversight

On the eve of President Obama’s historic trip to Cairo, I write to commend him for the courageous and assertive approach he is taking in pursuit of Middle East Peace. Along with a vast majority of Jewish Americans, I agree peace can only be achieved through mutual recognition of a Jewish State of Israel and an Arab State of Palestine existing within secure and recognized borders.

However, I am dismayed to read of a GAO report that indicates that the State Department has dropped the ball on overseeing UNRWA activities in Gaza. According to this report, U.S. taxpayer dollars, intended for humanitarian aid, continuing a policy that existed in the Bush administration, are being diverted to pay for rockets being fired into Israeli towns and for textbooks which continue to preach hatred of Jews.

I invite Standard readers to join me in calling upon our State Department to take immediate administrative action to prevent U.S. taxpayer money from flowing to terrorists or to be used for anti-Israel and anti-Semitic propaganda.

I know that Rep. Steven R. Rothman earlier this year introduced a resolution calling for UNRWA to put its textbooks on the Internet for public inspection and for the United States to screen the agency’s payroll for terrorists. His ultimate goal, he explained, is simple: “Not one penny of U.S. taxpayer dollars should go either directly or indirectly to anyone associated with Hamas or any other terrorist organization, nor should any go to terrorist propaganda in classrooms.”

While we citizens of New Jersey can applaud this initiative I believe that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton can take immediate actions, even before this legislation is enacted, to increase the transparency and accountability of UNRWA. I ask my fellow Standard readers to join me in calling upon State Department officials to more stringently enforce existing laws banning the use of U.S. aid by individuals and groups who advocate and commit acts of terror.