Arab League welcomes report on UNRWA neutrality


The head of the Arab League on Wednesday hailed the conclusion of an independent review of the neutrality of the U.N. relief agency for Palestinians.

Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit said the wide-ranging 48-page report by the independent panel showed that Israel’s allegations were baseless and part of a "systematic campaign” meant to end the mandate of the agency, known as UNRWA.

The report, which was released earlier this week, found that Israel had never expressed concern about anyone on the staff lists it has received annually since 2011.

It said UNRWA has “robust” procedures to uphold the U.N. principle of neutrality, but it cited serious gaps in implementation.

Israel says that hundreds of UNRWA workers are members of Palestinian militant groups. Its allegations led to the suspension of contributions to UNRWA by the United States and more than a dozen other countries, but some have resumed contributions. Israel says the report ignored the severity of the problem.

In a statement, Aboul Gheit urged all countries that suspended funding to resume financial assistance for UNRWA, which helps 6 million Palestinians. He said a review of these countries’ position is a “humanitarian necessity and a moral duty," specifically urged UNRWA’s largest donor, the U.S., to reconsider.

Comments 0