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Threats in Congress to End US Aid to Palestinian Refugees

Call Your Representative and Urge Ongoing Support of UNRWA
July 9th, 2002

Several members of Congress have begun a vicious and unsubstantiated attack on the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA). UNRWA has, since 1949, provided education, health, and relief and social services to 3.9 million Palestinian refugees in the West Bank, Gaza, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria. The attack on UNRWA aims to eliminate all US funding for the agency, and must be seen in the context of the vitriolic anti-Palestinian campaign of support for Israeli occupation currently underway in the Congress. In late May, Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) and Rep. Tom Lantos (D-CA) sent letters to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan accusing UNRWA of complicity in terrorism. Lantos actually charged that UNRWA is "perpetuating" the Palestinian refugee problem. In early June, Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) parroted Lantos' allegations and criticized US funding of UNRWA. In a House International Relations Committee hearing on US policy in the Middle East on June 18, Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-NY) urged the State Department to cut US funding for UNRWA completely in next year's budget. The House International Relations Committee has scheduled a July 10th hearing on the effectiveness of UNRWA. This hearing is being driven by those who believe that the US should discontinue funding to the agency. This is a desperate attempt to place blame everywhere except where it belongs--with Israel's ongoing military occupation.

TAKE ACTION NOW!

Call your Representative in Congress and urge him/her to support continued US funding for UNRWA in its mission to help Palestinian refugees. It is particularly important for you to call if your Representative sits on the House International Relations Committee. [A list of Committee members follows.] Send an email to the Congressional Taskforce of the U.S. Campaign to let us know you've made the call (congress@endtheoccupation.org). Contact the Congressional Taskforce of the U.S. Campaign if you need more information (congress@endtheoccupation.org).

TALKING POINTS

See http://www.un.org/unrwa/myths/index.html for UNRWA's response to the allegations being levelled against the agency. 1) President Bush, Secretary of State Powell and members of Congress have repeatedly expressed concern over the deteriorating humanitarian situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. The Administration has stated clearly that for peace to be achieved the economic situation of Palestinians must be improved. 2) UNRWA is the main provider of basic education, health, relief and social services to over 3.9 million registered Palestinian refugees in the Middle East. In the occupied territories, Israel does not, and the Palestinian Authority cannot, provide those vital services. 3) Eliminating US funding to UNRWA will exacerbate the humanitarian crisis and will further undermine America's ability to play a constructive role in peacemaking efforts. 4) Palestinians control security in only one area where UNRWA operates. Other UNRWA areas in the West Bank and Gaza remain under Israeli security control.

CONTACT INFORMATION

To find your Representative call the House Switchboard: (202) 225-3121 or visit http://www.congress.org and search by zip code. MEMBERS OF THE HOUSE INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS COMMITTEE Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-5th-NY): Tel (202) 225-2601 Rep. Cass Ballenger (R-10th-NC): Tel (202) 225-2576 Rep. Doug Bereuter (R-1st-NE): Tel (202) 225-4806 Rep. Shelley Berkley (D-1st-NV): Tel (202) 225-5965 Rep. Howard L. Berman (D-26th-CA): Tel (202) 225-4695 Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-3rd-OR): Tel (202) 225-4811 Rep. Sherrod Brown (D-13th-OH): Tel (202) 225-3401 Rep. Dan Burton (R-6ht-IN): Tel (202) 225-2276 Rep. Eric Cantor (R-7th-VA): Tel (202) 225-2815 Rep. Steve Chabot (R-1st-OH): Tel (202) 225-2216 Rep. John Cooksey (R-5th-LA): Tel (202) 225-8490 Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-7th-NY): Tel (202) 225-3965 Rep. Jim Davis (D-11th-FL): Tel (202) 225-3376 Rep. Jo Ann Davis (R-1st-VA): Tel (202) 225-4261 Rep. William D. Delahunt (D-10th-MA): Tel (202) 225-3111 Rep. Eliot L. Engel (D-17th-NY): Tel (202) 225-2464 Rep. Jeff Flake (R-1st-AZ): Tel (202) 225-2635 Rep. Elton Gallegly (R-23rd-CA): Tel (202) 225-5811 Rep. Benjamin A. Gilman (R-20th-NY): Tel (202) 225-3776 Rep. Mark Green (R-8th-WI): Tel (202) 225-5665 Rep. Earl F. Hilliard (D-7th-AL): Tel (202) 225-2665 Rep. Joseph M. Hoeffel (D-13th-PA): Tel (202) 225-6111 Rep. Amo Houghton (R-31st-NY): Tel (202) 225-3161 Rep. Henry J. Hyde, Chairman (R-6th-IL): Tel (202) 225-4561 Rep. Darrell E. Issa (R-48th-CA): Tel (202) 225-3906 Rep. Brian D. Kerns (R-7th-IN): Tel (202) 225-5805 Rep. Peter T. King (R-3rd-NY): Tel (202) 225-7896 Rep. Tom Lantos (D-12th-CA): Tel (202) 225-3531 Rep. James A. Leach (R-1st-IA): Tel (202) 225-6576 Rep. Barbara Lee (D-9th-CA): Tel (202) 225-2661 Rep. John M. McHugh (R-24th-NY): Tel (202) 225-4611 Rep. Cynthia A. McKinney (D-4th-GA): Tel (202) 225-1605 Rep. Gregory W. Meeks (D-6th-NY): Tel (202) 225-3461 Rep. Robert Menendez (D-13th-NJ): Tel (202) 225-7919 Rep. Grace Napolitano (D-34th-CA): Tel (202) 225-5256 Rep. Ron Paul (R-14th-TX): Tel (202) 225-2831 Rep. Donald M. Payne (D-10th-NJ): Tel (202) 225-3436 Rep. Joseph R. Pitts (R-16th-PA): Tel (202) 225-2411 Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-45th-CA): Tel (202) 225-2415 Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-18th-FL): Tel (202) 225-3931 Rep. Edward R. Royce (R-39th-CA): Tel (202) 225-4111 Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-27th-CA): Tel (202) 225-4176 Rep. Brad Sherman (D-24th-CA): Tel (202) 225-5911 Rep. Christopher H. Smith (R-4th-NJ): Tel (202) 225-3765 Rep. Nick Smith (R-7th-MI): Tel (202) 225-6276 Rep. Thomas G. Tancredo (R-6th-CO): Tel (202) 225-7882 Rep. Diane E. Watson (D-32nd-CA): Tel (202) 225-7084 Rep. Robert Wexler (D-19th-FL): Tel (202) 225-3001