Put away the carrots and look for a BIG stick

The United Nations Relief Work Agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) does not provide beneficiaries with a list of known terrorists identified by the police or Israeli government, US Congressmen Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Steven Rothman (D-NJ) told US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in a letter released for publication on Thursday.

In the letter, Kirk and Rothman cited a recently released United Nations Board of Auditors report which included a harsh assessment of UNRWA's management, efficiency and security.

UNRWA is charged with the mission of providing some services to Palestinians on the West Bank and Gaza. US taxpayers are the most generous donors to UNRWA, contributing more than $100 million annually.

The Kirk-Rothman letter reports that UNRWA does not comply with federal anti-terrorism laws. Repeatedly, UNRWA refused to give names of staff that left their positions to run for parliament as Hamas candidates. While pledging to the State Department that they deny humanitarian assistance to terrorists, UNRWA does not check beneficiaries with a list of known terrorists provided by the police or Israeli Government.

"In the increasingly hostile environment of the Middle East, with the Palestinian Authority now controlled by the Hamas terrorist organization, we must upgrade our oversight of the more than $100 million US taxpayers contribute to UNRWA," said Congressman Kirk. "After an exhaustive review of the UN's own audit, it is clear UNRWA is wrought by mismanagement, ineffective policies, and failure to secure its finances. We must upgrade UNRWA's financial controls, management and enforcement of US law that bars any taxpayer dollars from supporting terrorists."

"US anti-terror law explicitly prohibits taxpayer dollars from supporting terrorists. However, we know that a number of UNRWA staff ran for parliament in the Palestinian territory as official Hamas candidates earlier this year. We know that Hamas supports the indiscriminate killing of civilians. We know that UNRWA cannot account for large amounts of money it has spent.

And we know that UNRWA does not check Palestinian beneficiaries against a list of known terrorists," said Congressman Steve Rothman (D-NJ). "With all of this information known, the United States must find out what is unknown: Are US tax dollars funding terrorists through UNRWA?"

The recently released report by the United Nations Board of Auditors shows that UNRWA fails to implement many recommendations from previous audits, did not fully disclose financial statements to the auditors, employs poorly qualified and inexperienced staff, lacks a human resources plan, fails to make results-based management decisions, unreliably collects data, and fails to match financial records.

The audit states that UNRWA does not track who records, deletes, or in any way manipulates financial information, and has no way of detecting foul play.

And I'll bet it's just the way the UN wants it, it is time to let this treacherous organization fend for itself.

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