Samantha Power, Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), strongly criticized the alleged involvement of United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) employees in the Hamas attack on Israel in October, which resulted in numerous casualties and hostage situations.
Speaking on “The Takeout” with Major Garrett, Power asserted that those associated with the attack, its planning, and execution, including kidnappings, deserve not only condemnation but also punishment.
The Israeli government has accused at least a dozen UNRWA employees of playing a role in the Hamas attack, prompting an investigation by the U.N. Several countries, including the U.S., have suspended funding to UNRWA in response.
Nine employees have been terminated, one confirmed dead, and efforts are underway to identify the remaining two. Power emphasized the significance of the U.N.’s internal investigation into the credible allegations and stressed the need for systemic changes within UNRWA, expressing her unequivocal disapproval of the situation.
Acknowledging the challenges of ensuring accountability and addressing systemic failures, Power highlighted the vital role of UNRWA in delivering aid to Palestinian civilians in need.
Despite the difficulties, with 3,000 of the 13,000 UNRWA staff in Gaza continuing their work, she emphasized the acute dependence on the agency’s humanitarian infrastructure.
Noting that 90% of the Gazan population has been displaced, Power underscored the necessity of expanding humanitarian and commercial traffic into Gaza to meet the urgent need for aid delivery.
While condemning the actions of those involved in the attack, Power also emphasized the commitment to supporting the people of Gaza.
She outlined the intention to explore measures to enhance assistance, surpassing previous efforts, and reiterated the dedication to addressing the acute humanitarian needs of the affected population.