July 24, 2024

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UNRWA needs money because of US sanctions and is seeking help from Arab countries

UNRWA needs money because of US sanctions and is seeking help from Arab countries

UN for Palestine Refugees The agency (UNRWA) is facing a huge funding shortfall after the US stopped its contribution.

The director of the organization, Philip Lazzarini, said in an interview with Anadolu news agency.

The US government decided in January to suspend funding to UNRWA following unsubstantiated Israeli allegations that some of the organization’s staff were involved in a counter-attack by Hamas last October. Other Western countries such as the European Union, Canada and Sweden followed suit, but later reversed their decision. However, the US is determined and has determined in the new budget law that no money will go to UNRWA until March 2025.

The United States, UNRWA’s largest donor, provides between $300 and $400 million annually to the organization, which serves the humanitarian needs of some 5.7 million Palestinian refugees in the Middle East. With the loss of US support, UNRWA now faces a shortfall of about $180 million for its core budget and another $200 million for emergency aid, Lazzarini said.

The director says he is looking for new lenders, including Arab countries, to fill the gap. He mentions Algeria, Iraq, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia and Qatar as potential donors. Some European countries such as Spain, Belgium, Portugal and Norway have also indicated that they would like to maintain or increase their contribution. Laszarini says UNRWA has enough money to continue until the end of June, but beyond that he needs more resources to keep the organization running.

Lazzarini expects Israel’s smear campaign against UNRWA to continue because it is part of a larger Israeli plan to strip Palestinians of their refugee status. He says Israel has yet to provide credible evidence to support the allegations against UNRWA staff, as evidenced by an independent UN investigative report submitted last week. The report, led by former French foreign minister Catherine Colonna, emphasized the organization’s neutrality.

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The UN-led attack on Gaza has killed nearly 34,600 Palestinians and displaced millions. Staff, UN Lazzarini calls on the international community to demand accountability from Israel for its neglect of buildings and UN activities.

The casualties and destroyed infrastructure included at least 182 UNRWA staff and more than 160 buildings used by the organization, many of them shelters for displaced Palestinians.