UNRWA Launches International Campaign in Response to US Aid Cuts

19 January, 2018, 01:59 | Author: Rolando Keller
  • MOHAMMED ABED

The decision comes two weeks after President Trump questioned the value of the funding, and it is aimed at encouraging reform at the agency.

The Trump administration gave over $60m to a United Nations agency but held back a further $65m. It is to an agency of the United Nations that is responsible for supporting and alleviating the plight and suffering of Palestine refugees, particularly in the fields of education and health care.

After the U.S. Government partially withheld funding, UNRWA's head called on "people of good will in every corner of the globe where solidarity and partnerships exist for Palestine Refugees" to "join us in responding to this crisis and #FundUNRWA".

In a Twitter post on January 2, Trump said that Washington gives the Palestinians "HUNDRED OFMILLIONS OF DOLLARS a year and get no appreciation or respect".

Washington announced on Tuesday it would provide $60 million to the UNRWA while keeping back a further $65 million for now.

But she declined to say whether the United States has given UNRWA a list of specific changes or reforms it needs to undertake to unlock the rest of the US funding.

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said that the administration would like to see some reforms be made in the agency.

"With the Palestinians no longer willing to talk peace, why should we make any of these massive future payments to them", the tweet continued.

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But that money has now been frozen as part of USA demands for changes in UNRWA.

In a Twitter post on 2 January, Trump accused Palestinians of disrespecting the U.S. despite receiving millions of dollars in aid from Washington.

In a Twitter post, Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch, said the USA was "holding Palestinian kids' humanitarian needs hostage to political agendas".At the United Nations, Guterres told reporters that the services provided by UNRWA were "of extreme importance, not only for the well-being of these populations. but also in my opinion and an opinion that is shared by most global observers, including some Israeli ones, it is an important factor of stability".

"Given the long, trusted, and historic relationship between the United States and UNRWA, this reduced contribution threatens one of the most successful and innovative human development endeavors in the Middle-East", said UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krähenbühl.

"We would like other countries, in fact other countries that criticize the United States for what they believe to be our position vis-a-vis the Palestinians.to step forward".

Yesterday Israel's Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon intimated cutting the funding was a punishment for actions taken against Israel in or near UN facilities.

Last summer after it was discovered that Hamas built tunnels running below two United Nations schools in Gaza, Netanyahu said, "I told U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley that it's time to dismantle UNRWA".

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