More than $110 million raised for UNRWA

More than $110 million raised at pledging conference to support UN agency for “Palestinian refugees”.

Elad Benari ,

UNRWA facilities, southern Gaza
UNRWA facilities, southern Gaza
Flash 90

More than $110 million was raised on Tuesday at a pledging conference to support the UN agency for “Palestinian refugees”, UNRWA, AFP reports.

UNRWA chief Pierre Krahenbuhl said the funding would allow the agency, which provides education and health services to Palestinians, to cover costs for the coming months and avoid a budget crisis.

Around 35 countries took part in the conference, mostly European and Arab nations, with the biggest contributions coming from the EU, Germany and Britain, according to AFP.

The US, which was previously UNRWA's largest contributor, last year cut a full $300 million in funding to the agency.

Following the US cut, several European Union (EU) and Arab countries promised to contribute approximately $50 million each, while the EU itself promised to give $23 million.

Krahenbuhl last week urged UNRWA’s donors to help fill an expected $211 million shortfall in funding for 2019 following the US cut.

On Tuesday, he welcomed the pledge of $110 million, saying it was an "important amount" but said UNRWA would be seeking more funding to cover its annual budget of $1.2 billion in September.

"We hope this allows us to bridge a lot of the needs that we have in the next three to four months," he told reporters.

Created in 1949, UNRWA supplies aid to more than three million of the five million registered Palestinian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and territories assigned to the Palestinian Authority.

However, it is also 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.

In a more recent incident, 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.