The United States Pulls Funding from Palestinian Refugee Agency

A Palestinian refugee carries a bag of flour at a UNRWA food distribution centre A Palestinian refugee carries a bag of flour at a UNRWA food distribution centre EPA

05 September, 2018

The US decision to stop funding the UNRWA, a Palestinian refugee agency, jeopardizes millions of refugees’ access to education and healthcare.

On August 31, 2018, the United States announced it will no longer provide funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA). In a press statement, the US State Department’s spokesperson, Heather Nauert, called the organization an “irredeemably flawed operation” and cited a disproportionate share of costs, an unsustainable business model, and inadequate fiscal policies as the reasons behind pulling their funding. This announcement follows the decision by the US government to withhold approximately $300 million in UNRWA funding.

Established in 1949, following the displacement of 700,000 Palestinians by the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, the UNRWA is an organization which provides aid to over 5.4 million Palestinian refugees in Gaza, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, and East Jerusalem. This aid comes in the form of health centers, emergency assistance programs, and schools. Without funding from the US, the UNRWA needs over $200 million to continue providing assistance to these refugees.

According to Reuters, international concern has arisen as a result of the United States’ policies regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Following the recent decision to stop funding the UNRWA, Hossam Zomlot, the Palestinian representative in Washington, stated that the United States “is damaging not only an already volatile situation but the prospects for future peace.”

According to Al Jazeera, Israel has voiced support for the United States’ decision to cut all funding, while Palestinian officials have called it an “assault” against their people. Heiko Maas, Germany’s foreign minister, announced Germany will increase funding to the organization. Maas also stated that if UNRWA were to shut down, it could cause an “uncontrollable chain reaction.”

 

To know more, please read:

https://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2018/08/285648.htm

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-45377336

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-palestinians-unrwa/unrwa-chief-defends-refugee-criteria-for-millions-of-palestinians-idUSKCN1LJ179

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/09/dangerous-consequences-cuts-funding-palestinian-refugees-180902065647863.html

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/08/ends-funding-palestine-refugee-agency-180831203947486.html

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/09/unrwa-funding-cut-deeply-regrettable-shocking-180901071620633.html

 

By Cecilia D'Arville
Editing Shrabya Ghimire

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