The US on Tuesday announced $64 million in aid for UNRWA, the United Nations agency dedicated to “Palestinian refugees”.
"The United States is proud to announce nearly $64M for UNRWA providing health care, and emergency relief to hundreds of thousands of vulnerable Palestinian children and families, bringing total support in 2022 to nearly $344M. We call on other donors to contribute," the State Department's Population, Refugees, and Migration Bureau said in a statement quoted by Haaretz.
It added that the assistance includes support to strengthen UNRWA’s internal oversight and management; promote human rights, conflict resolution and tolerance in UNRWA schools, as well as implementing UNRWA’s information technology for education strategy.
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.
More 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.
The US had long been one of the main supporters of UNRWA, but it cut a full $300 million in funding to the agency in 2018, when Donald Trump was President.
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. It previously announced $201 million for UNRWA, bringing assistance to the organization during the Biden administration close to $700 million.
The PA had a tense relationship with the Trump administration and had been boycotting the US since 2017, in protest of Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and the relocation of the US embassy in Israel to the city.