11 Countries Speed Up Funding For Palestinians, Answering UN Request For $800 Million After US Cuts

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Palestinian employees of UNRWA at a protest against a U.S. decision to cut aid, in Gaza City January 29, 2018. (REUTERS)

The U.N. agency for Palestinian “refugees” said Tuesday that Russia, Kuwait and nine European countries have agreed to speed up their contributions to help fill a shortfall left by the Trump administration’s decision to greatly reduce crucial U.S. funding.

U.N. Relief and Works Agency said Tuesday it is seeking $800 million for “emergency operations in Syria, the West Bank and Gaza”. In an appeal last week, the agency sought an additional $500 million.

UNWRA, which serves some 5 million Palestinian refugees and their descendants, had a budget of over $1 billion last year. They claim the money goes to fund long-running programs, including education, as well as emergency funds for crises such as the war in Syria.

The U.S. has been the largest donor, giving one-third of the total budget. The Trump administration withheld half of the first installment of payments this year, demanding reforms as a condition for future aid.

The head of UNWRA, Commissioner General Pierre Krahenbuhl said Tuesday that Russia, Kuwait and nine European countries have agreed to speed up their contributions to help fill a shortfall left by the Trump administration’s decision to greatly reduce crucial U.S. funding.

The Trump administration has committed $60 million this year — far short of the $360 million that the U.S. provided last year — and Krahenbuhl said he has no sign that other U.S. funding might be on the way.

“Evidently, that is a very severe and dramatic change in the parameters of funding from the United States,” which he called a “stable, predictable and most-generous contributor to UNRWA over decades.”

“It is clear that we have a very big task on our hand to fill that gap,” Krahenbuhl told reporters in Geneva.

Krahenbuhl also said UNWRA has received no specifics about reforms sought by the United States, suggesting politics — notably surrounding the U.S. decision to recognize Jerusalem as the Israeli capital — were at play.

UNRWA responded by calling on donors to speed up their funding, and Switzerland, Finland, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Germany, Russia, Belgium, Kuwait, the Netherlands and Ireland have taken steps to do so, he said. Others were considering similar action.

“Advancing contributions is extremely important to help us address the first few months,” he said. “Of course, a shortfall of 300 million can only be addressed with obtaining additional income from other sources over the year.”

Krahenbuhl said he believed the funding cut was linked to the Trump administration’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and a subsequent vote by the U.N. General Assembly to denounce the decision.

“It is very clear that the decision by the United States was not related to our performance,” he said. “This has to be part of the debate that took place around Jerusalem.”

(AP)




3 COMMENTS

  1. Time for US to lessen. Their involvement this organization and let all these NEW participants shoulder the burden on a constant basis!!! Use our tax revenues for Domestic needs rather than for this organization which is anyways a kofui Tovah !!!!!

  2. Dear Losers of the World,
    Switzerland, Finland, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Germany, Russia, Belgium, Kuwait, the Netherlands
    This ‘kindness’ is not kind. It is giving in to terrorism. Dollar for dollar may you be paid back for this. God will show you how things work. Also it won’t be long before the people you are giving money to will turn around fast and slap you in the face. Believe me it will sting. They will do this while you are sleeping. They will blame you for their problems.
    You will be sorry.