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Israel anger as US raises aid to UNRWA by $16m

June 27, 2023 at 9:36 am

Palestinians hold a demonstration as they demand financial support to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), in front of the UNRWA building in Gaza Strip, Gaza on June 20, 2023 [Ali Jadallah/Anadolu Agency]

Israel has expressed its anger at the transfer of $223 million by the US to the  United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), claiming that this support comes despite incitement against the occupation in UNRWA schools.

The US State Department announced that the US support budget for UNRWA will amount to $223 million this year, $16 million more than in 2022, which re-establishes Washington’s status as the largest donor to UNRWA.

Daniel Adelson, correspondent for Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper in New York, stated: “The American announcement of unprecedented support for UNRWA comes despite the statements made by Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Barbara Leaf against the UN organisation, in her conversation with members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, when she said the Secretary of State is aware of continuing reports of incitement to violence in UNRWA schools.”

Such “incitement” includes Palestinian students being taught the names of towns and villages which Israel erased in 1948 to set up its state, and references to Israel as a “Zionist occupation” state that adopts an official policy of erasing Palestinian identity, stealing and falsifying Palestinian heritage and erasing the cultural heritage of Jerusalem.

In 2018, the Trump administration ceased funding for UNRWA, plunging the organisation into financial instability. Washington attributed the cut to a need for unspecified reforms as it pushed Palestinians to renew peace talks with Israel.

READ: US increases aid to UNRWA to $223m in 2023