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UNRWA seeks fundraising as funding drops

UNITED STATES, WASHINGTON (OBSERVATORY) — The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), under investigation for suspected internal mismanagement, still needs $ 150 million in donations to continue its operations until the end of the year, the UN refugee agency said on Tuesday.

He added that Switzerland, the Netherlands and Belgium had suspended their contributions to the IAEA while the UN investigation, which he had pledged to act on, was under way.

“Our budget (for 2019) for all UNRWA operations in Gaza, the West Bank, East Jerusalem, Syria, Jordan and Lebanon is $ 1.2 billion. We still have a deficit of $ 150 million right now.”

UNRWA provides services to some five million Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Most are children of some 700,000 Palestinians who were driven from their homes or fled the fighting in the 1948 war that led to Israel’s creation.

An UNRWA spokeswoman said on Tuesday that Krähenbühl was notified in March that the UN Secretariat in New York was conducting an investigation “based on allegations against UNRWA personnel of inappropriate behavior”. It gave no details.

At a press conference, Krähenbühl urged all parties to wait for the official results of the investigation. “We will not only act on them, we will stick to them,” he said.

The United States, UNRWA’s largest donor, said last year it would suspend its $ 360 million a year in what it called an “irreparably flawed operation.”

Washington criticizes the United Nations’ blockade of Palestinian refugees and questions the “right of return” claimed by the Palestinians as part of any final peace settlement with Israel.

In May, US Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt told the UN Security Council that UNRWA should be effectively dismantled.

UNRWA’s mandate, repeatedly renewed by the UN General Assembly, runs until June 30, 2020.

“Today the vast majority of countries are unequivocally clear about their support for UNRWA’s mandate and their recognition of the need for Palestine refugees to continue to help, respect and defend their rights,” Krähenbühl said.

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