The head of the UN agency that provides aid to ‘Palestinian refugees’ appealed on Wednesday for world donations after the United States withheld about half its planned funding for the organization.
Washington said on Tuesday it would provide $60 million to the UN Relief and Welfare Agency while keeping back a further $65 million for now. The US State Department said UNRWA needed to make unspecified reforms.
UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krähenbüh said he would appeal to other donor nations for money and launch “a global fundraising campaign” aimed at keeping the agency’s schools and clinics for refugees open through 2018 and beyond.
Krähenbüh said 525,000 boys and girls in 700 UNRWA schools could be affected by the fund cut, as well as Palestinian access to primary health care, but he pledged to keep facilities open through 2018 and beyond.
UNRWA was established by the UN General Assembly in 1949 after hundreds of thousands of Palestinians fled from their homes in the 1948 war that followed Israel’s creation. It says it currently aids five million registered ‘Palestinian refugees’ in the Middle East.
Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office Michael Oren (Kulanu) said, “I congratulate US President Donald Trump on his decision to drastically cut funding to UNRWA. This is a false and corrupt organization, which fabricates millions of refugees in order to receive world funding. UNRWA perpetuates the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by teaching Palestinian youth to hate the State of Israel and to work to erase it. The President’s decision is a crucial and vital step to putting an end to one of the greatest frauds in history. UNRWA’s fraud has caused great damage to Israel and to the entire Middle East.
“UNRWA is an organization that perpetuates the Palestinian refugee problem. It also perpetuates the narrative of the right-of-return, as it were, in order to eliminate the State of Israel; therefore, UNRWA needs to pass from the world”, PM Netanyahu said earlier this month.
“This is an agency that was established 70 years ago, only for Palestinian refugees, at a time when the UNHCR deals with global refugee problems. Of course this creates a situation in which there are great-grandchildren of refugees, who are not refugees but who are cared for by UNRWA, and another 70 years will pass and those great-grandchildren will have great-grandchildren and therefore, this absurdity needs to stop”, Netanyahu added.