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UN extends UNRWA mission until 2023

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The United Nations on Friday extended the work of UNRWA, the “Palestinian refugee” agency, for another three years despite fierce opposition from the United States and Israel, AFP reports.

The current mandate was due to run out in June 2020 but 169 countries approved a renewal up to 2023 at the UN General Assembly. The US and Israel voted against and nine countries abstained, according to the report.

The resolution approved on Friday "all donors to continue to strengthen their efforts to meet the anticipated needs of the agency" amid deteriorating socio-economic conditions in the Palestinian Territories.

Created in 1949, UNRWA supplies aid to more than three million of the five million registered “Palestinian refugees” in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and territories assigned to the Palestinian Authority.

However, it is also notorious for its anti-Israel activities. During the 2014 counterterrorism Operation Protective Edge, Hamas rockets were discovered inside a school building run by UNRWA.

Likewise, a booby-trapped UNRWA clinic was detonated, killing three IDF soldiers. Aside from the massive amounts of explosives hidden in the walls of the clinic, it was revealed that it stood on top of dozens of terror tunnels, showing how UNRWA is closely embedded with Hamas.

More recently, a UN ethics report alleged mismanagement and abuses of authority at the highest levels of UNRWA, including involving UNRWA's top official, Commissioner-General Pierre Krahenbuhl, who eventually resigned over the allegations.

The US, which was previously UNRWA's largest contributor, last year cut a full $300 million in funding to the agency, leaving it strapped for cash and asking other countries to help fill the gap.


The agency’s officer-in-charge said recently that UNRWA is facing the worst financial crisis in its history and has a budget deficit of $332 million.

Some of the donor countries to UNRWA, including Switzerland, the Netherlands and New Zealand, suspended their aid to the agency in the wake of the corruption report.
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