Bingham Drops Plan for Measure Cutting off U.S. Aid to Guerrilla-controlled Unrwa Camps

Rep. Jonathan Bingham dropped today his proposed amendment to a foreign aid bill that would have cut off U.S. funds for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in 14 Arab refugee camps controlled by guerrillas in Lebanon. The New York Democrat said that he had reached the conclusion that a severance of funds might undermine “the delicate situation of the Lebanese Government” and result in the penetration of that country by extremist Arab elements. The Congressman was subjected to heavy pressure from the State Department, which had gotten pressure from elements close to UNRWA. He said today that he had decided not to act after consultations “with various colleagues and persons interested in Israel in and out of the Government.”

The United States now supplies more than $22 million a year in aid to the UN relief agency and has supplied a total of $45 million since the first Arab refugee camps were set up 20 years ago. Fourteen of the 15 camps in Lebanon, housing 170,000 Arabs, have been taken over by armed guerrillas. Earlier this week Israel urged at the United Nations that funds be withheld from these camps which it described as recruiting and training centers for Arab guerrilla warfare against Israel. UN officials warned that a cut would be “catastrophic” for UNRWA which is already severely short of funds.

(Lebanese Army troops clashed with Arab guerrillas today for the first time since the Nov. 3 Cairo agreement which was supposed to have brought peace between the commandos and the Beirut regime. According to reports received in London, the clash occurred when armed guerrillas attacked an Army post at Nabatiyyeh, 43 miles south of Beirut. Six soldiers and nine guerrillas were reported wounded.)

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