Taxpayer aid sent to Palestinians may be going toward Hamas, a terrorist group backed by Iran, according to internal White House documents that were recently obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.
The media outlet reported that the Biden administration continued to push forward with its plans for the foreign aid – which totals in the millions of dollars – even though internal assessments suggested that the plans might boost Hamas in the long run.
In 2021, officials from the State Department outlined some of these concerns in multiple private communications. Some of those documents show that the officials asked the Treasury Department to exempt them from laws in place that bar the federal government from giving foreign aid to any territory that’s controlled by terror groups in Palestine.
The Free Beacon reported that this authorization had to be obtained by the Biden administration if it wanted to move forward with unfreezing in excess of $360 million in federal funding to the Palestinian Authority. Those funds were frozen while former President Donald Trump was in office, over concerns that the authority was supporting terrorist organizations.
In March of 2021, not long after President Joe Biden took office, the State Department wrote a draft sanctions exemption request, which was circulated internally. It read:
“We assess there is a high risk Hamas could potentially derive indirect, unintentional benefit from U.S. assistance to Gaza. There is less but still some risk U.S. assistance would benefit other designated groups.
“Notwithstanding this risk, State believes it is in our national security interest to provide assistance in the West Bank and Gaza to support the foreign policy objectives.”
Protect the Public’s Trust, a watchdog group, obtained these documents by filing a Freedom of Information Act request. The documents show that even though the Biden administration worried privately that the efforts it was taking to restart the aid to Palestine might benefit terrorist groups like Hamas, they pushed forward with it anyway.
White House officials were publicly giving assurances to the press and to Congress that the money would be given out “consistent with U.S. law.” But, at the same time that was happening, the State Department was also scrambling to get a sanctions exemption so it could work around laws set up to battle terrorist groups.
A draft version of that request showed the State Department arguing it needed broader authorities to conduct its work in the Gaza Strip and West Bank “that would otherwise be prohibited by the Global Terrorist Sanctions Regulations and the Foreign Terrorist Organization Sanctions Regulations.”
“Such authorization would enable activities, including assistance activities, that are critical to support the administration’s efforts to advance prosperity, security, and freedom for both Israelis and Palestinians and to advance and preserve the prospects of a negotiated solution in which Israel lives in peace and security alongside a viable Palestinian state.”
This draft request goes to boost the position that Republicans have been taking for a while now – that the aid being sent to Palestine would help to bolster various terrorist groups operating in the region.