Sanders advocates for renewal of US support to UN agency tied to Hamas attacks 

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By Carina

In a powerful statement, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has urged the United States and its international partners to reinstate funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA). 

This call to action comes amid fears of an impending humanitarian crisis in Gaza, highlighting the dire circumstances facing Palestinian civilians. 

Aid freeze controversy amid UNRWA allegations

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The Biden administration’s recent decision to halt aid, following Israeli claims—validated by the U.S.—that a small number of UNRWA workers were implicated in an attack on Israeli civilians, has sparked significant controversy.

Sanders, known for his critical stance on Israel’s military actions in Gaza and the restriction of humanitarian supplies, emphasizes the gravity of the allegations against UNRWA staff but insists on the necessity of allowing the UN to continue its humanitarian missions. 

He underscored the alarming toll of the conflict, noting, “More than 26,000 Palestinians have been killed in the war and that, 70 percent of them are women and children, and that UNRWA has more than 10,000 workers.” 

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Sanders highlights urgency to address Gaza’s humanitarian crisis

Sanders’ statement brings to light the critical situation: “Today, hundreds of thousands of children face starvation and disease. Obviously, it’s not acceptable for any of the 13,000 UNRWA employees in Gaza to be involved with Hamas, and allegations against the 12 people charged must be investigated. However, we cannot allow millions to suffer because of the actions of 12 people.”

The senator’s plea extends beyond the immediate need for aid; it calls for international solidarity to prevent a humanitarian disaster. 

“The U.S. and other countries must restore funding to stave off this humanitarian catastrophe,” Sanders asserted, highlighting the potential for widespread suffering if aid channels remain closed. 

Escalating tensions and international responsibilities

The cessation of UNRWA funding threatens to exacerbate the already dire conditions in Gaza, affecting access to essential resources such as food and water for over a million people at risk of starvation.

The allegations that led to the funding freeze stem from an Israeli report that seven UNRWA staff members were involved in an October 7 attack on Israeli soil, with two allegedly taking part in kidnappings. 

Following these claims, the UN took decisive action, terminating nine of the 12 accused staff members, with one already deceased.

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Aid challenges and accountability in conflict zones

This situation underscores the complex dynamics of providing aid in conflict zones, where the actions of a few can have profound implications for many.

Earlier this month, Sanders made headlines by compelling the Senate to vote on a resolution demanding a State Department report on human rights violations during the Gaza invasion. 

Despite limited support, with only 11 senators in favor, this move demonstrated Sanders’ commitment to accountability and adherence to international law. 

Sanders stresses legal and moral urgency in Gaza aid appeal

Int Palestinian Youths Set Fire Rubber Tires Borders Gaza Strip — Stock Photo, Image
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His condemnation of Israel’s blockade against Gaza’s civilians as a “serious violation of international law” further emphasizes the ethical and legal imperatives at stake.

Senator Bernie Sanders’s call for restoring UNRWA funding reflects the urgent need to address the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. 

Shared duty to safeguard vulnerable civilians amid conflict

It serves as a reminder of the shared responsibility to protect the most vulnerable, especially during conflict. 

As international and domestic debates continue, the immediate focus must remain on ensuring that civilians caught in the crossfire receive the support and protection they desperately need.

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