PA making effort to renew aid to UNRWA

PLO secretary general sends letters to Netherlands, Belgium and Switzerland protesting the cessation of aid to UNRWA.

Dalit Halevi ,

Saeb Erekat
Saeb Erekat

Saeb Erekat, secretary general of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Executive Committee, sent a letter to the UN Secretary-General demanding that the inquiry into allegations of corruption in UNRWA, the UN agency for “Palestinian refugees”, conclude before the end of September.

Erekat noted that it is important to end the investigation before the UNRWA mandate is renewed in order to enable it to raise the funds needed to continue its activities at the donor countries conference that will take place at the end of September.

A recent UN ethics report alleged mismanagement and abuses of authority at the highest levels of UNRWA, including involving UNRWA's top official, Commissioner-General Pierre Krahenbuhl.

In the wake of the report, Switzerland said it was suspending funding to UNRWA. The Netherlands followed Switzerland and suspended its contribution to the organization as well.

Saeb in his letter to the UN chief expressed regret at the cessation of US aid to UNRWA, which created a budget gap that was completed thanks to the increase of donations from 40 countries.

The Palestinian Authority’s official Wafa news agency reported that Erekat has also sent letters to the foreign ministers of the Netherlands, Belgium and Switzerland, protesting their announcement of cessation of aid to UNRWA in the wake of the corruption allegations.

Erekat called to avoid politicization of the situation that could lead to escalation of tensions and instability in the region. He criticized the decision of these countries to freeze their aid to UNRWA on the basis of a leaked report to the media, while at the same time refraining from taking any action in response to what he called the ongoing Israeli violations of UN resolutions and not labelling Israeli products originating in the "occupied territories."

"The need to support and fund UNRWA still exists because UN General Assembly Resolution 194 has not yet been implemented and the right of return and compensation has not yet been implemented," said Erekat.