Former US ambassador the UN, Nikki Haley, on Thursday slammed the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) and US President Joe Biden’s announcement that he would be restoring aid to the agency.
“The Palestinian aid agency, UNRWA, is among the most corrupt and counterproductive of all UN agencies. President Trump was right to abandon it,” Haley tweeted.
“President Biden is wasting millions of American tax dollars and undermining the great progress being made on Middle East peace,” she added.
On Wednesday, the Biden administration said it intends to resume aid to UNRWA as well as other aid to the Palestinian Authority which was suspended by the Trump administration, as part of Biden’s efforts to renew ties with the PA that have been frozen since 2017.
The US, which was previously UNRWA’s largest contributor, cut a full $300 million in funding to the agency in 2018, when Trump was President and Haley was UN Ambassador.
Israel’s Foreign Ministry responded to Biden’s decision saying, “Israel maintains an intensive dialogue with the United States on numerous issues. In this context, the US raised the renewal of American aid to the Palestinians and we discussed its impact on the common interests of Israel and the US. Regarding UNRWA, Israel’s position is that the organization in its current form perpetuates the conflict and does not contribute to its resolution. The renewal of aid to UNRWA should be accompanied by substantial and necessary changes in the nature, goals and conduct of the organization.”
UNRWA is not fit for purpose and is failing the Palestinians and hindering peace in the Middle East.
UNRWA’s mission has no connection to a peace settlement, its bespoke and frankly perverse hereditary refugee policy has seen 740,000 refugees become 5.6 million, with some so-called refugees living comfortably in other countries. UNRWA, unlike UNHCR that oversees all other refugee situations elsewhere around the world, has no limits to its recognition of refugees, allowing unlimited generations of descendants, including those born in other countries or who are citizens of those countries, to continue to be classified as refugees in perpetuity.
It has created dependency, with Palestinians having little control over local services. It employs members of terrorist organisations. UNRWA schools and hospitals are used as arms caches for Hamas and Islamic Jihad and the organisation is riven with corruption.
But perhaps the most harmful UNRWA legacy is that Palestinian children are taught in UNRWA schools to hate Jewish people.
The UK, and the international community, pump millions of dollars into UNRWA every year. Unless that stops, we will have a new generation of terrorists, more attacks and no peace.
Prime Minister Netanyahu said in 2018, “UNRWA is an organization that perpetuates the Palestinian refugee problem, and perpetuates also the narrative of the so-called right of return, whose goal is the elimination of Israel. For these reasons, UNRWA should be shut down.” He added, “UNRWA’s aid money should be transferred gradually to the UNHCR, which has clear criteria for supporting true refugees, and not the fake refugee status we have today under UNRWA.”
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