UNRWA Reuters

The UN agency for “Palestinian refugees”, UNRWA, on Tuesday announced a $1.6 billion funding appeal to help counter what it described as "chronic" budget shortfalls.

"Chronic agency budget shortfalls threaten the livelihoods and well-being of the Palestine refugees that UNRWA serves and pose a serious threat to the agency's ability to maintain services," agency head Philippe Lazzarini said in a statement quoted by AFP.

The US, which was previously UNRWA's largest contributor, cut a full $300 million in funding to the agency in 2018, when Donald Trump was President.

However, the Biden administration has announced it intends to resume aid to UNRWA as well as other aid to the Palestinian Authority which was suspended by the Trump Administration.

Despite Biden restoring funding to the agency, UNRWA has said it is still struggling. In November, it warned it was facing an "existential threat" over budget gaps.

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.

Most recently, a UN Watch report revealed that more than 100 of UNRWA’s educators and staff have publicly promoted anti-Semitism and violence on social media, and that on numerous occasions the agency has failed to dismiss teachers who incited such hate.

Following the publication of the UN Watch report, Israel’s Ambassador to the UN, Gilad Erdan, sent letters of complaint to the Secretary-General of the UN and the Commissioner-General of UNRWA and demanded they take action.

UNRWA subsequently announced that it would launch a probe into the contents of the UN Watch report.

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