Italy will donate $1.2 million to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) to support “Palestinian refugees” in Lebanon, Xinhua reported on Thursday.
The donation agreement was signed between Ambassador of Italy in Lebanon Nicoletta Bombardiere and the UNRWA's Director of Affairs in Lebanon Claudio Cordone, according to the report.
This new funding will enable UNRWA to continue providing support for “Palestinian refugees” in health care and cash assistance.
UNRWA has been facing a financial crisis in recent years and has urged donor states to continue their support for the agency.
The US, which was previously UNRWA's largest contributor, cut a full $300 million in funding to the agency in 2018, leaving it strapped for cash and asking other countries to help fill the gap.
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.
Lebanese residents who are registered as “Palestinian refugees” and their descendants who were born in that country reside in residential neighborhoods known as "refugee camps", have limited work options and are refused citizenship.
Lebanon refuses to naturalize the “Palestinian refugees” and has stressed the need to work for their return to their country of origin, which Palestinian Arabs claim is Israel.
Late last year, Lebanese authorities launched a crackdown on foreign workers, including people registered as “Palestinian refugees”.
According to the population census conducted in 2017, 174,422 “Palestinian refugees” live in Lebanon in 12 "refugee camps" and in 152 residential neighborhoods throughout the country.