The European Union says it’s offering an extra 40 million euros ($46 million) to the UN Palestinian refugee agency.
The EU move announced Friday is intended to help fill a $217 million budget short-fall left after the United States effectively ended its $350 million contribution to the “United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees”.
The agency on Thursday received pledges of $118 million from donor countries to help it overcome the crisis.
Germany, Sweden, the European Union, Turkey, and Japan were among the countries that came forward with extra funds for UNRWA during a meeting held on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.
It was announced last month that the United States is cutting all funding to UNRWA meaning they will have only donated $60 million this year (compared to $362 million last year) and give no further funding to the organisation from this point onwards.
In June, the UK announced it will send £38.5 million imminently in Palestinian aid through UNRWA, citing the weeks-long violence at the Gaza border as reason for the urgency.
Earlier this year Prime Minister Netanyahu heavily criticised UNWRA.
“UNRWA is an organization that perpetuates the problem of the Palestinian refugees,” he said. “It also perpetuates the narrative of the so-called ‘right of return’ with the aim of eliminating the State of Israel, and therefore UNRWA must disappear.”
As a result, he said, UNRWA is dealing with the great-grandchildren of refugees, and in another 70 years they will be dealing with great-great-grandchildren of refugees. “This absurdity has to stop,” he declared.
“I made a simple suggestion, that the funds for UNRWA should be gradually transferred to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, with clear criteria for supporting real refugees, rather than fictitious refugees, which is what is happening today under UNRWA,” he said.
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