The European Union announced on Thursday it would commit a further 20 million euros ($23 million) to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in 2019, i24news reports.
This will bring the EU’s contribution to 153 million euros, which is in line with how much the US contributed to the UN agency for “Palestinian refugees” in 2017.
The United States, the largest single contributor to UNRWA, announced in August that it would end its $350 million a year funding for the agency, describing the organization as an “irredeemably flawed operation”.
That announcement followed a previous US announcement in January that it would cut some of its funding to UNRWA due to a need to undertake a fundamental re-examination of the organization, both in the way it operates and the way it is funded.
The EU became UNRWA's single largest donor after the US cut off its funding to the agency.
Johannes Hahn, EU Commissioner for European Neighborhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, said on Thursday that the EU was working with UNRWA "to intensify fundamental reforms and tackle its recurrent financial deficit."
"The EU additional financial support to UNRWA, which is a factor of stability in the region, will allow the Agency to continue to provide essential services to vulnerable Palestinian refugees," he added, according to i24news.
Since the US announced its funding cut, the organization has 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.
Created in 1949, UNRWA supplies aid to more than three million of the five million people who are registered as “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.