US President Donald Trump’s plan to force UNRWA to close have failed as a number of countries have come out in support of the organisation and provided the necessary funds to ensure it remains functioning, a senior Hamas official said yesterday.
UNRWA’s Pierre Krahenbuhl had announced that the UN body’s budget deficit for 2018 was reduced from $446 million to $21 million as a result of the newly obtained funds from a number of countries.
Speaking to Quds Press, Izzat Al-Reshiq said: “The efforts aimed to dissolve the UNRWA failed due to the Arab, Islamic and international support.”
He noted that several Arab, Islamic and EU countries stepped in and filled the gap after the halt of the US support for the Palestinian refugee agency.
“This failure is considered a disappointment for Trump’s administration,” Al-Reshiq said, stressing that “this is also a disappointment and a political failure for the Israeli leaders.”
Al-Reshiq said that the Trump administration and the Israeli occupation worked hard to close UNRWA, “which is the last witness to the Israeli crimes against the Palestinian people.”
The senior Hamas leader pointed out the importance of the UNRWA’s humanitarian services for millions of the Palestinian refugees.
He noted that the Palestinian refugees, “who have been rejecting all citizenship projects and are still sticking to their right to return to their homes”, still need the services of the UNRWA.
In August, the US State Department said Washington would “no longer commit funding” to the UNRWA.
The US had been UNRWA’s largest contributor by far, providing it with $350 million annually — roughly a quarter of the agency’s overall budget.
Established in 1949, UNRWA provides critical aid to Palestinian refugees in the blockaded Gaza Strip, the Israeli-occupied West Bank, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria.