The head of a U.N. agency supporting Palestinian refugees said on Tuesday it still needed $150 million in donations to keep it operating until the end of this year.
Pierre Krahenbuhl, commissioner-general of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, said Switzerland, the Netherlands and Belgium had suspended their contributions to the organization while the U.N. investigation – on whose findings he promised to act – was underway.
Amina Ahmed’s family fled Syria's Yarmouk refugee camp in search of safety following escalations in the civil war there. They escaped back to Palestine thinking that Gaza would be safer.
Seven years later, they have a different idea of life in the strip. https://t.co/ZMHc02LMNV
— +972 Magazine (@972mag) August 22, 2019
“Our (2019) budget for all UNRWA operations in Gaza, the West Bank, East Jerusalem, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon is $1.2 billion. At this moment we have a remaining shortfall of $150 million.”
“The vast majority of countries today are very clear about their support to UNRWA’s mandate and their recognition that Palestinian refugees need to continue to be assisted, respected, and see their rights defended.”
— United Nations News (@UNolizer) August 28, 2019
UNRWA provides services to about 5 million Palestinian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and the West Bank and Gaza. Most are descendants of some 700,000 Palestinians who were driven out of their homes or fled fighting in the 1948 war that led to Israel’s creation.
Last year the United States, UNRWA’s biggest donor, said it was halting its aid of $360 million per year to what it called an “irredeemably flawed operation”.
More than 325K Palestine refugee students in Gaza & the West Bank have returned to school. @UNRWA is helping them reach their dreams & achieve their full potential. https://t.co/lqDyoH5n9D pic.twitter.com/t4nCa75fuW
— United Nations (@UN) August 27, 2019
Washington has been critical of the United Nations count of Palestinian refugees, questioning a “right of return” claimed by the Palestinians as part of any eventual peace settlement with Israel.
In May, U.S. Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt told the U.N. Security Council that UNRWA should be effectively dismantled. UNRWA’s mandate, which has been repeatedly renewed by the U.N. General Assembly, runs until June 30, 2020.
(Telesur, PC, Social Media)