Published: Fri, March 16, 2018
Global Media | By Garry Long

United Nations gets $100M in new funds for Palestinian aid after U.S. cuts

United Nations gets $100M in new funds for Palestinian aid after U.S. cuts

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said "an important first step was reached" at an emergency donor conference in Rome with the new pledges.

The almost 100-million-dollar total comes from 11 countries: Qatar, Canada, Switzerland, Turkey, New Zealand, Norway, South Korea, Mexico, Slovakia, India and France.

The agency, the oldest and largest United Nations relief program in the Middle East, provides health care, education and social services to an estimated 5 million Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon. Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians either fled or were forced from their homes during the war that led to Israel's establishment in 1948.

UNRWA's budget crisis has been exacerbated by a January decision by its main donor, the U.

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The aim of the event was to stimulate a response by the worldwide community "to ensure UNRWA's unprecedented funding crisis of 446 million USA dollars is urgently solved".

Supporting UNWRA, said Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, is "necessary to preserve the dignity of Palestinian refugees, avoid radicalism and therefore counter terrorism". Without new funding, UNRWA diplomatic sources warned, "by next June we will be forced to close 700 schools and 140 clinics operating in very hard conditions".

She also discussed the conflict between the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Israel, saying that "the two-state solution does not work, and we need to concentrate on the real problems, which are incitement by the Palestinian Authority, and financial support of terror". The government says this will help meet "urgent humanitarian needs" by providing food assistance to over one million people living in the West Bank and Gaza and other essential humanitarian assistance.

The Prime Minister thanked countries and organizations that have provided extra funding for the agency starting from the beginning of this year, which he said has spared UNRWA of an unexpected interruption of services to the Palestinian refugees.

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