The United States is pausing its funding of a United Nations agency tasked with providing aid to Palestinians after at least a dozen employees were accused of participating directly in the Oct. 7 attack on Israel.

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency has long faced accusations that its workers are anti-Israel and support Hamas. On Friday, UNRWA commissioner-general Philippe Lazzarini confirmed an investigation into employees whom Israel accuses of participating in Oct. 7.

“The Israeli Authorities have provided UNRWA with information about the alleged involvement of several UNRWA employees in the horrific attacks on Israel on 7 October,” Lazzarini said.

With evidence in hand, Lazzarini said the UNRWA has fired the accused workers. He explained:

To protect the Agency’s ability to deliver humanitarian assistance, I have taken the decision to immediately terminate the contracts of these staff members and launch an investigation in order to establish the truth without delay. Any UNRWA employee who was involved in acts of terror will be held accountable, including through criminal prosecution.

In response, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said the United Nations needs “major changes.”

“Terrorism under the guise of humanitarian work is a disgrace to the @UN and the principles it claims to represent,” Gallant said.

Meanwhile, the State Department said the U.S. will temporarily halt sending any taxpayer money to the UNRWA.

“The United States is extremely troubled by the allegations that twelve UNRWA employees may have been involved in the October 7 Hamas terrorist attack on Israel,” spokesman Matthew Miller said. “The Department of State has temporarily paused additional funding for UNRWA while we review these allegations and the steps the United Nations is taking to address them.”

American taxpayers fund a significant portion of the agency’s budget, which was $1.6 billion in 2022. Former President Donald Trump suspended aid to the UNRWA in 2018, but Biden restarted the funding after he came into office.

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