Jordan to Host Fundraiser at U.N. for Palestinian Refugee Agency

إقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية W460

Jordan will host a fundraiser at the United Nations headquarters in New York next month to keep the agency for Palestinian refugees afloat, the kingdom's top diplomat said Thursday.

Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said the meeting, set for September 27 on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly, "aims to provide financial and political support to UNRWA."

The U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees has been struggling to balance its books since the United States announced in January it was cutting its annual funding by $300 million.

The Jordanian foreign minister said the New York event aims to "close the gap and put in place a plan that will ensure UNRWA's continued, ongoing funding for the coming years," Safadi said.

It will also "reaffirm that UNRWA is an organization created by the U.N. General Assembly, with a clear and particular role, and this role must continue," he added. 

Speaking alongside the Jordanian foreign minister, UNRWA director Pierre Krahenbuhl said the agency needs $200 million to continue its work until the end of this year.

"We're taking about human beings. We cannot wish 5.3 million Palestinian refugees away... these are people who have rights and for many years now, for decades, have faced a plight and an injustice that is simply immense," said Krahenbuhl.

The agency supports some five million registered Palestinian refugees and provides schooling for 526,000 children in the Palestinian territories, Lebanon, Syria and Jordan.

But UNRWA has warned it currently only has the funds to keep its 711 schools open for the next month.

By the end of September, "UNRWA won't have a penny," the agency's spokesman Chris Gunness warned Wednesday.

The agency was created in 1949 to support 750,000 Palestinians who fled or were driven from their homes during the war surrounding the creation of Israel. Those still alive today along with their descendants are classified as refugees.

U.S. President Donald Trump's administration has contributed $60 million to the agency in 2018, compared to more than $360 million last year.

Last week his administration announced further cuts to Palestinian aid, slashing $200 million in funding for programs in Gaza and the West Bank.

Relations between Washington and the Palestinian Authority nosedived after Trump in December formally recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

The Palestinian leadership has suspended contact with the U.S. administration and says Washington can no longer play a mediation role in the Israel-Palestinian peace process.

Comments 3
Missing arturo 30 August 2018, 18:49

The friends of the Palestinians, including Lebanon, must raise at least $3 billion so that an endowment is created for the refugees and they will not need to seek funds each year. Since the funds are for the Palestinians the endowment would be carefully managed to ensure money is available for many years to come.

Thumb whyaskwhy 31 August 2018, 16:40

Arturo we all know where these funds will end up and its not with the needy. The Palestinian cause is like the call by Israeli leadership for peace...a thing of the past. The only people interested in it are hardliners from both sides as the moderates have given up. On one side you now have Iran who claims to be the champion for liberating Palestine...through killing and displacing thousands in Syria and Yemmen, on the other hand you have Israeli hardliners who are assimilating lessons learned from the Holocaust on the Palestinians to reform. Both are not working....

Missing phillipo 30 August 2018, 21:07

Every other UN and international organisation recognises as rerfugees only those people who they themselves were displaced, why should UNWRA be different.
If they want money they should ask the countries, Iran, Iran, Syria, Egypt, Yemen, Libya, Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia from where 800,000 Jews fled in 1948 where the income from their property left behind disappeared to.