Presidential Determination No. 2009-15 of January 27, 2009At the time, The New York Daily News responded in an editorial:
Unexpected Urgent Refugee and Migration Needs Related To Gaza
Memorandum for the Secretary of State
By the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, including section 2(c)(1) of the Migration and Refugee Assistance Act of 1962 (the ``Act''), as amended (22 U.S.C. 2601), I hereby determine, pursuant to section 2(c)(1) of the Act, that it is important to the national interest to furnish assistance under the Act in an amount not to exceed $20.3 million from the United States Emergency Refugee and Migration Assistance Fund for the purpose of meeting unexpected and urgent refugee and migration needs, including by contributions to international, governmental, and nongovernmental organizations and payment of administrative expenses of Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration of the Department of State, related to humanitarian needs of Palestinian refugees and conflict victims in Gaza.
You are authorized and directed to publish this memorandum in the Federal Register.
Under the system as it exists today, some or all of those funds could end up in Hamas coffers.The issue that others have raised though is not about how Hamas might use the funds in Gaza. Instead, given that the title of the memorandum is "Unexpected Urgent Refugee and Migration Needs Related To Gaza"--the question that some have raised is whether Hamas terrorists might use the money to emigrate from Gaza...to the US.
Make no mistake. USAID is a critical agency, especially given the Obama administration's clearly stated belief in doubling down on international development. But by its very nature, USAID is focused more on dispersing aid than on vetting the organizations through which that aid is distributed on the ground. As a result, its otherwise laudable record has been tainted by a series of awards to entities with established ties to terrorist groups, including Hamas-controlled zakat (charity) committees and the Islamic University of Gaza.
Ted Belman suggests, more reasonably, that perhaps Obama is "attempting to break the UNRWA’s strangle hold on resettlement of refugees."
But the title of that memorandum sure is suggestive.
UPDATE: Belman's suggestion makes sense in light of the following:
Over 40 members of Congress now have signed onto a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton calling for an independent audit of UNRWA. The letter was drafted by Reps. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., and Steve Rothman, D-N.J.[Hat tip: Noah Simon]
...Kirk is also a co-sponsor of legislation introduced last week by Rothman calling for greater transparency at UNRWA, insisting that the agency put its textbooks on the Internet and screen its payroll against terrorist databases of members of Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other Palestinian-based organizations. UNRWA admitted to FOXNews.com that it currently only screens its employees against a watchlist of roughly 500 Taliban and Al Qaeda operatives, most of whom live in Afghanistan and Pakistan.