WASHINGTON — Five peace activists were arrested today as CODEPINK and other organizations disrupted the House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing titled “UNRWA Exposed: Examining the Agency’s Mission and Failures.” The protest aimed to draw attention to the urgent need for humanitarian aid in Gaza.
The disruption comes in the wake of the International Court of Justice’s recent ruling, which found South Africa’s charge of genocide against Israel to be credible. The court issued provisional measures demanding that Israel cease the killing of Palestinians and restore the flow of humanitarian aid to Gaza. Despite these urgent calls, Israel has retaliated by accusing UNRWA members of aiding and abetting Hamas’s attack on October 7th. In response, the United States made the drastic decision to completely cut off funding to UNRWA, jeopardizing vital aid to the people of Gaza who are facing dire circumstances.
“UNRWA is the lifeline for people who are starving; cutting its funding is just inhumane,” stated Medea Benjamin, co-founder of CODEPINK.
United States citizens are voicing their outrage at their country’s complicity in what they see as the intentional ethnic cleansing of Palestinians. Many believe that decision-makers are influenced by lobbying efforts from groups like AIPAC, which is perceived as a de facto lobbying firm for the State of Israel.
Jay Waxse from 7 Circles Alliance expressed concern, stating, “To so casually take away humanitarian aid from an entire people based on one criterion that is not withheld within our military or police in this country is severely troubling.”
Retired Colonel and former State Department member Ann Wright emphasized the critical importance of UNRWA funding for the health and security of the people of Gaza, calling the suspension of funding by the US “criminal” and “outrageous.”
CODEPINK and its supporters demand the immediate reinstatement of funding to UNRWA to ensure the well-being of the people of Gaza.