The European Union will contribute €82 million ($93 million) to UNRWA’s 2019 budget, a UN organisation revealed yesterday.
According to the agreement signed between the two international bodies, the EU funds will support the human development work of UNRWA. This, the statement said, will help preserve access to education for 532,000 children, provide primary health care for more than 3.5 million patients and assistance to over 250,000 acutely vulnerable Palestine refugees, as well as a multitude of other services, at a time of extreme instability across the Middle East.
EU Representative in Jerusalem, Ralph Tarraf, said: “On a daily basis, UNRWA provides Palestine refugees with essential services including education, health and relief assistance, while promoting socio-economic development and stability in the Middle East. The EU and its Member States are proud to support UNRWA’s work in providing these services to Palestine refugees, which should be seen as an inseparable part of the EU’s efforts to reach a negotiated two-state solution and a just and lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians. Supporting UNRWA will remain one of the pillars of our Middle East peace policy.”
Established in 1949, UNRWA provides critical aid to Palestinian refugees in the blockaded Gaza Strip, the Israeli-occupied West Bank, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria.
Last year, 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.
This came a month reports emerged of a secret American report stated that there are only 40,000 Palestinian refugees, noting they are the Palestinians who left their home land in 1948 and remain alive today and not their descendants.
US President Donald Trump’s senior advisor and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, is reported to have tried to pressure Jordan to strip more than two million Palestinians of refugee status in a move that aims to end the work of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA).