Issa Calls on Biden To Suspend Funding to Gaza Charity After Free Beacon Report

State gave $41K to anti-Israel group Fares Al-Arab

Hamas fighters in Gaza City (Getty Images)
March 1, 2023

Rep. Darrell Issa (R., Calif.) is calling on the Biden administration to suspend funding to an anti-Israel Gaza-based charity and turn over records related to the grant, following a Washington Free Beacon report that found the group works with terrorists.

Issa in a letter sent to Secretary of State Antony Blinken raised concerns about the $41,000 State Department grant, which "was made despite repeated inflammatory remarks on the international stage, and confirmed allegations of repeated, long-standing ties to Hamas."

The letter comes days after the Free Beacon reported that the State Department provided funding in September to Fares Al-Arab, a Gaza-based charity, to carry out an English-language training program for Palestinian journalists.

Fares Al-Arab worked with the Hamas government as recently as 2021 on a housing project. The charity also gave a media award to a radio network run by the Islamic Jihad Movement, honored a self-described journalist who belonged to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, hosted a press freedom event that featured a spokesman for Islamic Jihad, and co-led a human rights training course with a convicted terrorist, the Free Beacon first reported. The group has also blasted Israel as an "apartheid" regime, supports boycott campaigns against the Jewish state, and signed on to a petition that calls on the United Nations to "uncover the terrorist face" of Israel.

Fares Al-Arab told the Free Beacon that its work with terrorists is in the past and that "the group's views on Israel will not be a part of the media training program."

Issa wrote in his letter to Blinken that the group "has previously been noted to maintain historical ties and 'bilateral relations' with Hamas," which is "designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization" under U.S. law.

The congressman said this designation raises questions about whether the group "would have been eligible for the grant."

"This award must immediately be suspended pending a full and thorough review of these accusations," he added.

Issa asked the State Department to explain if it "knew the history of the group's ties to terrorism" and "why the grant was provided if the history was known."

He also requested that the department turn over all documents and communications related to the grant, the grant application, and all records related to the review and approval process by March 10.