Home Virginia AG Miyares signs on to Republican effort to defund aid to displaced Gazans
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Virginia AG Miyares signs on to Republican effort to defund aid to displaced Gazans

Chris Graham
jason miyares
Jason Miyares. (© The Old Major – Shutterstock)

A group of 26 Republican state attorneys general, including, no surprise here, Virginia AG Jason Miyares, a born follower if there ever was one, is telling Congress to defund the UN Relief and Works Agency, which would needlessly punish 1.4 million displaced Palestinian civilians out of pure, stupid political spite.

“Taxpayers’ money should be used on things like education, infrastructure and protecting our communities – not on aiding and abetting terrorist sympathizers,” Miyares said in a statement released by his office on Friday.

“America cannot be the champion of human rights and liberty while also funding organizations that have direct ties to evil, death and destruction,” Miyares said.

What Miyares is getting at there is allegations from Israel that 12 UNRWA employees were involved in the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks on Israel, which led the Biden administration to temporarily halt additional funding for the agency, which has more than 13,000 employees in Gaza.

Their work includes operating shelters currently home to the 1.4 million people who have been displaced from their homes by the Israeli military operation in Gaza – that figure, incidentally, represents roughly 70 percent of the total population of the Gaza Strip.

Another 400,000 Gazans are reliant on UNRWA for aid, including food assistance, because of the upheaval resulting from the war.

Do the math: defunding UNRWA pretty much affects the whole of Gaza, because of the actions of 12 people.

UNRWA also provides support to the more than 3 million Palestinians living in Jordan, Lebanon and Syria, many descendants of Palestinians who were forced out of their homeland with the creation of the nation-state of Israel in 1948.

The Biden administration has come under fire from the left for the move to temporarily halt funding to the UNRWA, in line with the split in Democratic Party ranks on the Israel-Gaza war that Republicans had been hoping to exploit to their partisan advantage.

The rancor on the left misses out on the fact that it was Biden who reversed a move by Donald Trump, in 2018, to cut U.S. aid to UNRWA, which led the agency to spend down its reserves to try to keep afloat.

The Biden administration has committed more than $1 billion to UNRWA since 2021.

This push to re-defund the agency from the Republican AGs, and a bill being advanced by U.S. House Republicans that would make the defund push permanent, thus doesn’t seem all that prudent, politically speaking.

The Stop Support for UNRWA Act, authored by New Jersey Republican Chris Smith, could come up for a vote on the House floor as early as Feb. 12.

Chris Graham

Chris Graham

Chris Graham is the founder and editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1994 alum of the University of Virginia, Chris is the author and co-author of seven books, including Poverty of Imagination, a memoir published in 2019, and Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, and The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever, published in 2018. For his commentaries on news, sports and politics, go to his YouTube page, or subscribe to his Street Knowledge podcast. Email Chris at [email protected].