The United States sent $60 million to keep the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in operation but withheld a further $65 million, while urging other countries to increase their funding, a State Department official said Tuesday.

US Withholds $65M from UNRWA; UN Chief “Very Concerned”

Views: 249

US gives UNRWA $60 million, withholds rest of aid. ‘Need to re-examine UNRWA operations and funding.’

The United States sent $60 million to keep the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in operation but withheld a further $65 million, while urging other countries to increase their funding, a State Department official said Tuesday.

“There is a need to undertake a fundamental re-examination of UNRWA, both in the way it operates and the way it is funded,” the official said.

The US had frozen a $125 million grant to UNRWA earlier this month, amounting to one third of the US annual aid to the organization. Part of the grant was unfrozen Tuesday.

The move follows tweets by US President Donald Trump in which he questioned the wisdom of providing hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to the Palestinian Authority given their refusal to resume peace talks with Israel.

The United States is the largest single donor to UNRWA, providing approximately a fourth of the organization’s budget.

Reports in Israel on Thursday indicated that the Israeli Foreign Ministry is opposed to Trump’s planned cut in the aid to UNRWA, fearing the possibility of resulting unrest, but Jewish Home chairman Naftali Bennett said this month that cutting aid to UNRWA is the correct move.

For years, UNRWA has been a target for criticism in light of Hamas’s activity in its educational institutions and the use of its facilities by Palestinian Arab terrorist organizations in Gaza.

UNRWA was documented storing Hamas rockets and weapons “designed to kill Israeli citizens” in its schools, a fact which the UNRWA chief admitted himself.

In addition, the organization has actively taken part in inciting anti-Semitic violence.

It has perpetuated the status of Palestinian “refugees” for generations instead of working towards their absorption in host countries, continuing to call residents of camps located in the Palestinian Authority refugees. Audits have shown that the number of “refugees” in UNRWA lists is highly inflated.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Tuesday he was “very concerned” by reports that the U.S. had cut its funding to UNRWA, the UN agency for “Palestinian refugees”, by half.

According to AFP, Guterres said he had not been informed of Washington’s decision.

“I strongly hope that in the end, it will be possible for the United States to maintain the funding of UNRWA,” he was quoted as having said.

“UNRWA is not a Palestinian institution but a UN institution,” added the UN chief, who dubbed the agency “an important factor of stability” in the Middle East.

A State Department official said earlier on Tuesday that the United States had sent $60 million to keep UNRWA in operation but withheld a further $65 million.

“There is a need to undertake a fundamental re-examination of UNRWA, both in the way it operates and the way it is funded,” the official said.

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert later said the U.S. “would like to see some reforms be made” in UNRWA, and stressed, “This is not aimed at punishing anyone.”

Tuesday’s announcement from the State Department came after the U.S. had frozen a $125 million grant to UNRWA earlier this month, amounting to one third of the U.S. annual aid to the organization.

By: A7 Staff
(INN)

 

LEAVE A REPLY

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE

INTERNATIONAL NEWS