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Hamas calls on UN to approve UNRWA budget

June 25, 2018 at 6:30 pm

The Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) has called on the UN to approve the budget of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) as part of the global body’s main budget.

“The UN should take a responsible decision by approving the agency’s budget as part of its primary budget,” the  Palestinian group said in a statement on Monday.

It went on to stress the need to find “radical solutions” to the refugee agency’s chronic financial woes.

“It is unacceptable that Palestinian refugees continue to suffer; that their lives must depend on international political calculations and racist US decisions that favor the Israeli occupation at the expense of [Palestinian refugees’] inalienable rights,” the statement read.

Hamas also called on Arab and Muslim states to “live up to their pledges” and contribute to the funding of the refugee agency.

The group further warned that UNRWA’s financial troubles threatened to “adversely affect the lives of five million Palestinian refugees who rely heavily on the services provided by UNRWA”.

The refugee agency is expected to hold an international conference later Monday in hopes of drumming up contributions from UN member states.

In January, the US administration announced plans to withhold $65 million in planned aid to UNRWA “pending further consideration” — a move that threw the cash-strapped agency even deeper into financial crisis.

Founded in 1949 (one year after Israel’s establishment), the UNRWA provides services to millions of Palestinian refugees in the Palestinian territories, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria.

By the end of 2014, the number of Palestinian refugees worldwide stood at some 5.9 million, of whom roughly 5.3 million are registered with UNRWA, according to Palestine’s official statistical agency.