United Nations gets $100M in new funds for Palestine aid at Rome conference

Adjust Comment Print

The Rome Donor Conference is attended by 90 countries under the patronage and invitation of Sweden, Jordan and Egypt.

The UN refugee agency for Palestinians (UNRWA) said it raised about 100 million dollars on Thursday as it attempts to fill a almost 450-million-dollar budget shortfall at a donors' conference in Rome.

United Nations officials said the countries providing the new financing included Turkey, Qatar, Canada, Switzerland, New Zealand, Norway, South Korea, Mexico, Slovakia, India and France.

"Attempts to undermine the refugees issue are being done by trying to end the work of the UNRWA through reducing financial support", he told Xinhua at the demonstration.

He pointed out continuing the support for UNRWA is a political message that the world still cares about suffering of the Palestinian refugees, in which 5th, next May marks seventy years of their suffering and injustice.

But the U.N.is still running about $346 million short for 2018, and officials warned that critical services could be scrapped if the money doesn't come through.

"Today, we stress the need to continue working to ensure effectiveness of the agency and centrality of reaching long-term financial planning", he said, and added "this conference is the beginning of an ongoing process of support that will enable UNRWA to provide vital services".

"This would have severe impacts - a cascade of problems that could push the suffering in disastrous and unpredictable directions", he said.

In January, Trump tweeted "we pay the Palestinians HUNDRED OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS a year and get no appreciation or respect", accusing them of walking away from peace negotiations.

The US had been UNWRA's largest donor, supplying almost 30 percent of its budget. In announcing the cuts in January, the U.S. State Department said it wanted reforms at the agency, which Israel has strongly criticized.

Shoukry said the agency had already streamlined some of its activities but said "there is a limit to its ability to do so" given the enormous needs faced by 5 million people. 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.

According to the Development Initiative's (DI) Global Humanitarian Assistance, Turkey came second after the USA among countries that contributed the most humanitarian aid to Palestine in 2016.

He stressed the support of UNRWA is a political message that the global community has not abandoned the Palestinian refugees and has not left them victims of destitution and despair, and will not contribute to depriving half a million students of their right to decent living and education in the five areas of UNRWA work. Turkey ranks first if one takes into account national incomes.