UNRWA Can't Pay Wages in Financial Crisis
On Tuesday the UN announced it will not pay wages next month to thousands of workers in the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) due to a growing financial crisis.
The cancellation of wages comes as UNRWA is in a $36 million deficit according to AFP.
UNRWA was founded in 1950 to aid "Palestinian refugees" that left Israel during the 1948 War of Independence. All other refugees in the world are handled by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). UNRWA currently serves roughly 5 million people as Palestinian refugee status is passed down from generation to generation under the organization's framework.
Under secretary general Jeffrey Feltman said "UNRWA will be unable to adequately fund its core services...and will be unable to pay December salaries of its 30,000 teachers, medical personnel and social workers."
While announcing its financial woes UNRWA criticized Israel's stance towards Hamas controlled Gaza.
Since Israel suspended building materials to Gaza in October after discovering the materials were used in building terror tunnels, 19 out of 20 UNRWA construction projects in Gaza have been halted, putting "thousands of people out of work" according to Feltman.
On Tuesday UNRWA chief Filippo Grandi said "the Israeli blockade -- which is illegal -- must be lifted." The same day Hamas spokeswoman Israa al-Mudallal said the situation in Gaza is "on the verge of explosion," calling on the international community to send materials, presumably building materials.
However Gaza's shortage of supplies has been proven to be because of Egypt's blockade, not Israel's.
Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas on Monday said that no peace deal would be reached unless the 5 million "Palestinian refugees" are allowed to repatriate into Israel, effectively erasing Israel.
Some analysts have previously suggested that the US should place conditions on its financial aid to UNRWA given that its schools use the PA curriculum which rejects Israel's existence and encourages the "Palestinian right of return" along with "armed struggle."
The organization has shown strong bias against Israel in the past, such as in May when UNRWA director in Lebanon, Ann Dismorr, was photographed holding a map showing all of Israel as "Palestine."
Meanwhile in August the Foreign Ministry condemned the UNRWA for misrepresenting facts in an incident at Kalandia, north of Jerusalem.