At a press conference on Monday, a correspondent for Christian media called out the State Department spokesman for funding UNRWA despite the organization enabling terrorism that results in Jewish deaths. In comparison, an Arab correspondent’s question led to a condemnation of Jews living in Judea and Samaria.
White House correspondent and Reporter for Intermountain Christian News, Dr. Anthony Harper, confronted Matthew Miller, the State Department’s spokesperson, about funding from the United Nations Works and Relief Agency for Palestine (UNRWA) being used for establishing terrorist centers inside Israel.
“In light of UNRWA donors’ agency meetings at the UN, will the US ask the UN to inspect and disarm UNRWA refugee camps that have become well-equipped arsenals?”
Miller seemed flustered and asked Dr. Harper to clarify where precisely these armed UNRWA camps were.Other correspondents prompter Miller, saying the reference was to the Middle East, as UNRWA operates exclusively in the region.
“I will say,as we have said before, we have long recognized Israel’s right to defend itself and take actions to secure its territory,” Miller said.
Miller’s answer entirely ignore the question about UNRWA funding. The decision by the Biden administration to restore funding to UNRWA and the Palestinians Authority may violate the Taylor Force Act. A report in JNS earlier this year revealed that after the Biden administration reversed the previous administration’s 2019 cutoff of aid, the number of Israelis killed by terrorists rose from 3 in 2020 to 17 in 2021 and 31 in 2022. This shows a clear correlation between US funding and Jews murdered by Palestinian terrorists.
Dr. Harper asked as a follow-up question:
“Will the US challenge the official Palestinian school curriculum which rejects the two-state solution by teaching the next generation to reject any recognition of Israel?”
Miller again deflected and did not answer the question.
“I will say the we support the two-state solution. You’ve seen me asked about that on a number of occasions. That will continue to be our policy, and that will be our policy as it pertains to anyone on either side of this longstanding conflict who wants to take a different position.”
Dr. Harper reiterated his first question, saying, “What about those well-equipped arsenals and the concerns that Israel has that are happening – that are occurring in the UN agency UNRWA camps?”
Miller reiterated his previous answer, saying, “Again, as I’ve said, we support Israel’s right to secure its nation.”
Dr. Harper’s criticism of UNRWA education is well-founded. Over half of UNRWA’s 2020 Program Budget of $806 million was earmarked for education. A 42-page report from the NGO UN Watch exposed widespread and blatant antisemitism and incitement to terrorism propagated by UNRWA educators.
Established in 1949, UNRWA is the only UN agency dedicated to helping refugees from a specific region or conflict. Its definition of refugee is also unique and contradicts the definition used to guide other UN agencies, and includes descendants of Palestine refugee males. Using this definition, UNRWA claims there are currently 5.8 million Palestinian refugees. In 2018, a State Department report disclosed by the Washington Free Beacon recorded that around 20,000 of the original refugees are still alive today.
Miller’s deflection of Dr. Harper’s pointed questions stands in sharp contrast to his responses to Said Arikat, the Washington Bureau chief for the Jerusalem-based newspaper Al-Quds, who openly slandered Israel and injected false information into his questions.
“You began by noting how Ukraine has inspired the world in fighting against an illegal military occupation,” Arikat began. “And I wonder if you think that the Palestinians ought to be so inspired as to fight an illegal occupation with the same kind of intensity and the same commitment, and, also, count on a limitless commitment of support by the United States and the rest of the world, as you stated.”
“We are firmly committed to a two-state solution, as we have spoken to a number of times,” Miller answered.
“But you said that Ukraine is inspiring the world, and the Palestinians have a right to be, as members of this world community, to be so inspired and fight the occupation, correct?” Irikat continued.
“We certainly take steps that would improve the dignity, the economic situation of the Palestinian people, as well as an ultimate two-state solution,” Miller said.
Irikat continued along another line.
“Yesterday, the Israeli occupation forces forced a Palestinian family to destroy her own home in East Jerusalem, with her children, and move out. Do you have any comment on that?”
In his response, Miller criticized Israel for demolishing the illegally constructed buildings.
“It is critical, as we’ve said on a number of occasions, for Israel and the Palestinian Authority to refrain from unilateral steps that exacerbate tensions, and undercut efforts to advance a negotiated two-state solution. And that certainly includes the practices of forced demolitions and evictions of families from homes in which they have lived for generations.”
The current administration has a double standard regarding construction. While turning a blind eye to illegal Arab construction including in Area C under Israeli supervision, the Biden administration has criticized Israel’s government for moves it sees as consolidating settlements and for “provocative” visits by some members of the government to the Temple Mount.
“Settlement expansion clearly presents an obstacle to the horizon of hope that we seek,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in June.