US Special Representative for International Negotiations, Jason Greenblatt, responded on Monday to the publication of a UN ethics report which found mismanagement and abuses of authority at the highest levels of UNRWA, the UN agency for “Palestinian refugees”.
“We’re extremely concerned about UNRWA allegations. We urge a full and transparent investigation by the UN. UNRWA's model is broken/unsustainable and based on an endless expanding number of beneficiaries. Palestinians residing in refugee camps deserve much better,” tweeted Greenblatt.
The ethics report, exposed earlier by the AFP news agency, describes "credible and corroborated" allegations of serious ethical abuses, including involving UNRWA's top official, Commissioner-General Pierre Krahenbuhl.
It says the allegations include senior management engaging in "sexual misconduct, nepotism, retaliation, discrimination and other abuses of authority, for personal gain, to suppress legitimate dissent, and to otherwise achieve their personal objectives."
UNRWA said it is cooperating fully with the investigation and that it cannot comment in detail because the probe is ongoing.
Nikki Haley, the former US Ambassador to the UN, commented on the damning report as well.
“This is exactly why we stopped their funding: Reports top officials of UNRWA engaged in ‘abuses of authority for personal gain, to suppress legitimate dissent and to otherwise achieve their personal objectives,’" tweeted Haley.
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.
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.