The United States has sent hundreds of millions in taxpayer money to the Gaza Strip since the territory has been under the control of the terrorist group Hamas.

Hamas, which took over Gaza in 2007, launched a series of attacks against Israel starting on Saturday, resulting in the deaths of over 1,200 Israelis and the kidnapping of hundreds of others, some of whom have been tortured or raped. The U.S. has invested hundreds of millions of dollars to improve Gazans’ welfare, and the Biden administration plans to send more taxpayer funds to the region in the coming years despite the risk that some of it is being stolen by Hamas, according to a review of publicly available records.

“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,” the State Department wrote in an internal 2021 document first obtained by the Washington Free Beacon. “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.”

Starting in 2009, two years after Hamas took control in Gaza, the United States began sending foreign aid to the region “to improve the lives of Palestinians,” according to USAID. The funds went toward bolstering Gaza’s economy to “increase competitiveness” and supporting “infrastructure and health activities.”

When President Joe Biden took office in 2021, his administration continued efforts to send aid to Gaza and other Palestinian territories. A minimum of $5.5 million a year was granted to Gaza in 2021 for “cash assistance and health care,” and an additional $90 million was channeled to the United Nations group operating in the region, according to The Associated Press.

The White House granted $316 million to Palestinian territories in 2022, including funds to build a 4G wireless infrastructure network in Gaza. Roughly $500 million was approved between 2021 and 2024 to fund “programming to support the Palestinian people,” including populations in Gaza, according to USAID.

An additional $250 million was approved to “advance peaceful coexistence between Israelis and Palestinians (in Gaza and the West Bank) to enable a sustainable two-state solution,” according to USAID.

Lawmakers expressed concern that an ample amount of the funding to Gaza is “counterproductive” because it is being siphoned by Hamas and Palestinian militants, according to a 2021 letter signed by over a dozen senators.

“We write with concern regarding plans by the Biden-Harris administration to pour hundreds of millions of American taxpayer dollars into territories controlled by the Palestinian Authority (PA) and the Iran-backed terrorist group Hamas,” the senators wrote. “If a Palestinian state was established today it would be a failed state, lacking political institutions, economic viability, a monopoly on the use of force by internal groups, and a non-terrorist government capable of exerting sovereignty over all claimed territories.”

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Jake Smith on October 12, 2023

Daily Caller News Foundation

 

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