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Group.png United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East  
(International organisationWebsiteRdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
"Perpetuates a status quo, is corrupt, inefficient and doesn’t help peace" (Jared Kushner)
Parent organizationUN
UN IGO for Palestinians.

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) is a relief and human development agency, founded in December 1949, which supports more than 5 million registered Palestinian refugees, and their patrilineal descendants, who fled or were expelled from their homes during the 1948 Palestine war as well as those who fled or were expelled during and following the 1967 Six-Day War.[1][2] Originally intended to provide jobs on public works projects and direct relief, today UNRWA provides education, health care, and social services to the population it supports. Aid is provided in five areas of operation: Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem; aid for Palestinian refugees outside these five areas is provided by UNHCR.

UNRWA also provided relief to Jewish and Arab Palestine refugees inside the state of Israel following the 1948 conflict until the Israeli government took over responsibility for Jewish refugees in 1952. In the absence of a solution to the Palestine refugee problem, the UN General Assembly has repeatedly renewed UNRWA's mandate, most recently extending it until 30 June 2026.[3]

UNRWA is the only UN agency dedicated to helping refugees from a specific region or conflict and is separate from UNHCR.[4] Formed in 1950, UNHCR is the main UN refugee agency, which is responsible for aiding other refugees all over the world. Unlike UNRWA, UNHCR has a specific mandate to aid its refugees to eliminate their refugee status by local integration in current country, resettlement in a third country or repatriation when possible.[5] UNRWA allows refugee status to be inherited by some descendants.[6]

UNRWA at a glance

UNRWA at a glance.webp

Who funds UNRWA?

UNRWA Funding.webp

US effort to disrupt UNRWA

Jared Kushner, Senior Advisor to the former President of the United States and former US broker for peace talks, has advocated a "sincere effort to disrupt" UNRWA as part of the Trump administration's proposals for the Middle East, since according to Kushner it "perpetuates a status quo, is corrupt, inefficient and doesn’t help peace".[7]

Funding cuts

UNRWA Western Cuts.webp

Chris Gunness, a former UNRWA spokesman, said the UN agency has weeks only before it runs out of money for its crucial aid work to save Palestinian lives in Gaza.

“My message to the Arab world, particularly to the Gulf, is where are you? Because they’re making billions each day on oil revenues. A tiny fraction of those oil revenues would see UNRWA’s financial problems disappear overnight. This unconscionable gap inflicted by these Western countries would be filled very quickly,” Gunness told Al Jazeera.
“Some of the most desperate people in the Middle East are now facing starvation, they’re facing famine, and the Arab states need to step up to the plate.”[8]

Canada cut funding without seeing evidence

On 7 February 2024, CBC News reported that the Trudeau government cut funding without seeing evidence to back Israel's claims of UNRWA-Hamas collusion. Government sources told CBC that Israel still hadn't shared evidence with Canada to substantiate its claim that 12 employees of UNRWA were involved in some capacity in the October 7 attack on Israel by Hamas and the affiliated group Islamic Jihad.

Earlier in February, Britain's Channel 4 News obtained a copy of a dossier that the government of Israel shared with the UK government, which also cut funding to UNRWA. Channel Four reported that the dossier was only six pages long. The news service said it rehashes long-standing Israeli government complaints about UNRWA and alleges the involvement of UNRWA staff in the Oct 7 attack, but "provides no evidence" to back up Israel's explosive allegations against the agency.

Britain's Sky News also reviewed the dossier and reached a similar conclusion:

"The Israeli intelligence documents make several claims that Sky News has not seen proof of and many of the claims, even if true, do not directly implicate UNRWA," the news channel reported.

French public broadcaster France 24 also had access to the Israeli report, which it compared to the notorious "dodgy dossier" of intelligence claims about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction that led the UK government to join the US invasion of Iraq in 2003.[9]

Israel's dodgy dossier exposed

Peter Oborne EXPOSES Israel’s dodgy dossier

On 8 February 2024, Oliver Tickell posted on Facebook:

"So. It turns out that all those governments (including UK) that abruptly cut some $700 million in funding to UNWRA (the UN’s humanitarian agency for Gaza) after Israel alleged that a few staff members joined in the October 7 attack, did so based on a four-page dossier that contained no supporting evidence.
"The funding cuts, taking place in the middle of the greatest humanitarian crisis of the 21st century, which the ICJ has determined to plausibly constitute a Genocide by Israel, can only exacerbate the crisis and may constitute a participation in Genocide."[10]

In a Double Down News video, Peter Oborne exposed Israel's dodgy dossier and was particularly critical of the positions adopted by Lord Cameron, Andrew Mitchell, Rishi Sunak and Keir Starmer in aligning themselves with Israel's plan to starve 2 million Palestinian people.[11]

Counter narrative to the ICJ ruling

On 9 February 2024, Craig Murray posted on X:

"It is now crystal clear that not a single one of the countries that cut aid to UNRWA has anything amounting to evidence against one single UNRWA employee.
"They just wanted a counter narrative to the ICJ ruling and to speed up the genocide by starvation.[12]

Israel refuses to provide proof

Israel has refused to provide the intelligence it says backs up its allegations, either to UNRWA or to the UN Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS), the UN body assigned to investigate.

"I don't think we need to give intelligence information. This would reveal sources in the operation," Lior Haiat, a spokesperson for Israel's foreign ministry, told France 24.[13]


Employee on Wikispooks

Peter Ford20062015Working with refugees


Related Document

TitleTypePublication dateAuthor(s)Description
Document:Outside In: The Trump Administration’s Plan to Remake the Middle EastArticle10 October 2018Ted SniderBenjamin Netanyahu refers to his doctrine as Outside In: first you pacify the Outside and ally with the Sunni Arab states (Egypt and Saudi Arabia) outside of Israel, then, in exchange, you extract a peace plan out of them that you then impose Inside on a Palestine now devoid of allies and leave it helpless to hold out against a peace plan forced on the Palestinians by Donald Trump.
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  1. Dowty, Alan (2012), Israel/Palestine, Polity, p. 243, ISBN 9780745656113
  2. UNRWA in Figures.
  3. "UN General Assembly Renews UNRWA Mandate – Press Release"
  4. http://www.unhcr.org/cgi-bin/texis/vtx/home
  5. http://icsr.info/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/1346247918ICSRAtkinPaperSeries_ElhananMiller.pd
  6. http://www.unrwa.org/userfiles/2010011995652.pdf quote=Persons who meet UNRWA's Palestine Refugee criteria These are persons whose regular place of residence was Palestine during the period 1 June 1946 to 15 May 1948, and who lost both home and means of livelihood as a result of the 1948 conflict. Palestine Refugees, and descendants of Palestine refugee males, including legally adopted children, are eligible to register for UNRWA services. The agency accepts new applications from persons who wish to be registered as Palestine Refugees. Once they are registered with UNRWA, persons in this category are referred to as Registered Refugees or as Registered Palestine Refugees.
  7. "Trump and Allies Seek End to Refugee Status for Millions of Palestinians"
  8. "Which countries have cut funding to UNRWA, and why?"
  9. "As donors suspend critical funding to UNRWA, allegations against staff remain murky"
  10. The funding cuts may constitute a participation in Genocide"
  11. "Peter Oborne EXPOSES Israel’s Dodgy Dossier"
  12. "They just wanted a counter narrative to the ICJ ruling"
  13. "Canadian officials still haven't seen intelligence linking UN's Gaza aid agency with Hamas: sources"
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