UNRWA seeks funding to meet deficit

UN agency for “Palestinian refugees” says it needs more than $200 million to fund projects until the end of the year.

Ben Ariel,

UNRWA HQ in Gaza
UNRWA HQ in Gaza
Flash 90

The United Nations agency for “Palestinian refugees”, UNRWA, needs more than $200 million to fund projects until the end of the year, with extra pledges so far unable to minimize a massive slash in donations from the United States.

"Schools may not be able to open on time in August," Miroslav Lajcak, the president of the General Assembly, told a pledging conference for the UNRWA in New York on Monday, according to AFP.

This is the second such donors' meeting in three months.

"Other services could start to be affected as early as next month. And humanitarian activities in the West Bank and Gaza are at risk," he warned.

The U.S. announced in January it would cut some of its funding to UNRWA, citing a need to undertake a fundamental re-examination of the organization, both in the way it operates and the way it is funded.

The organization later received pledges of $100 million in additional funding from Qatar, Canada, Switzerland, Turkey, New Zealand, Norway, Korea, Mexico, Slovakia, India and France as a means of making up for the aid that was cut by Washington.

Turkey earlier this month pledged an additional $10 million to fund the activities of UNRWA.

"Failure to provide desperately needed resources comes with a price. More hardship for communities. More desperation for the region. More instability for our world," said UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

"We must do everything possible to ensure that food continues to arrive, that schools remain open and that people do not lose hope," he added.

Several countries announced new assistance to the organization at Monday’s conference, including $500,000 from Mexico and four million euros from Belgium, according to AFP.

UNRWA is notorious for its anti-Israel activities. During the 2014 counterterrorism Operation Protective Edge, Hamas rockets were discovered inside a school building run by UNRWA.

Likewise, a booby-trapped UNRWA clinic was detonated, killing three IDF soldiers. Aside from the massive amounts of explosives hidden in the walls of the clinic, it was revealed that it stood on top of dozens of terror tunnels, showing how UNRWA is closely embedded with Hamas.

More recently, the director of UNRWA operations in Gaza expressed his support for the anti-Israel marches along the Israel-Gaza border and pledged that the organization’s medical centers will provide care for “Palestinian refugees” who might sustain injuries during them.