The United Nations extended the work of its Palestinian refugee agency for another three years on Friday, despite fierce opposition from the US and Israel.
The current mandate was due to run out in June 2020 but 169 countries approved a renewal up to 2023 at the UN General Assembly, with the US and Israel voting against, while nine countries abstained.
UN General Assembly overwhelmingly vote to keep the Palestinian aid agency running until 2023 — israel & the US tellingly vote against it https://t.co/HKv688XB5k
— Sarah Wilkinson (@swilkinsonbc) December 14, 2019
The resolution approved on Friday “all donors to continue to strengthen their efforts to meet the anticipated needs of the agency” amid deteriorating socio-economic conditions in the Palestinian Territories.
US President Donald Trump’s administration, along with Israel, accuses UNRWA of perpetuating the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but the agency disputes that and says it provides services that would otherwise not be available to Palestinians.
The overwhelming vote in favor of @UNRWA
represents a victory of international legitimacy and a defeat for political and financial extortion. We thank all countries that voted yes to a renewed mandate, including paragraph 11 of Res. 194 on right of return and compensation. pic.twitter.com/beMqOPL30B
— Dr. Saeb Erakat الدكتور صائب عريقات (@ErakatSaeb) December 14, 2019
UNRWA was set up after more than 700,000 Palestinians were expelled or fled their lands during the 1948 war surrounding the creation of Israel.
It provides schooling and medical services to millions of impoverished refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria as well as the Palestinian territories, and employs around 30,000 people, mostly Palestinians.
"All attempts at trying to limit UNRWA's mandate or defund it or attack it have failed, and we hope that the international community will continue to come to the rescue."
– Hanan Ashrawi pic.twitter.com/bfx6B90GQd
— Sarah Mohammed (@Sarah_mo7ammed1) December 14, 2019
Last year, the Trump administration cut all funding to UNRWA, arguing that it was flawed as Washington pressed ahead with work on proposals for an Israeli-Palestinian solution.
(Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, PC, Social Media)