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Guterres seeks boost in UNRWA funding amid ‘deteriorating situation’

“Member states have been supportive of my proposals,” including “increasing funding for core activities of UNRWA,” the U.N. secretary-general writes in an alarm-sounding budget notice.

Palestinians protest the reduction in food provisions by the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) in Khan Yunis, in the southern Gaza Strip, on Jan. 20, 2021. Photo by Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90.
Palestinians protest the reduction in food provisions by the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) in Khan Yunis, in the southern Gaza Strip, on Jan. 20, 2021. Photo by Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90.

Despite the United Nations facing a “deteriorating financial situation,” forcing the global body to “implement aggressive cash conversation measures,” U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres wrote to U.N. secretariat personnel that he proposed increased funding for UNRWA, the Palestinian-only aid entity currently under fire for its links to the Hamas terrorist organization and its Oct. 7 murder spree in Israel.

In a Jan. 25 letter from Guterres viewed by JNS, he wrote of a liquidity crisis facing the world body due to overdue membership payments from member states and “structural weaknesses” in its budget process. According to him, the United Nations started 2023 with $700 million in reserves but burned through it by October.

He listed several steps taken by the organization to mitigate the fiscal hemorrhaging, such as a hiring freeze; limiting travel to only essential circumstances; and delaying all but urgent purchases of goods and services, and construction and maintenance projects.

Despite the deep-seated monetary difficulties facing the organization, Guterres is pushing for added funds for UNRWA (U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East), which has proven to be a budgetary albatross and political hot potato for the United Nations.

“Member states have been very supportive of my proposals” regarding the 2024 budget,” the secretary-general wrote. That includes “positive decisions” on initiatives such as new offices for anti-racism and data protection, as well as more resources for development and human-rights activities.

It also includes “increasing funding for core activities of UNRWA,” Guterres writes.

One day after sending out his letter to personnel, UNRWA launched an investigation, based on information submitted by Israel, that 12 UNRWA staffers had participated in Hamas’ Oct. 7 terror attacks utilizing the agency’s vehicles and facilities.

Since then, a dozen countries have suspended aid to UNRWA, which has a $1.6 billion fully-funded budget this year. The agency has faced continuing shortfalls for a number of years due to a combination of donor cuts and its ballooning costs. UNRWA, by design, grows its financial commitment each year due to its labeling as refugees of all descendants of Palestinian Arabs who fled or were forced out of Israel during its 1948 War of Independence.

UNRWA employees and students of its educational system have been found in multiple instances to publish support of terror against Israel and Jews or participate in acts of terror.

The Palestinians are the only group of people for which the refugee tag is granted in perpetuity to original refugees and all their descendants, thereby perpetuating the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and straining the U.N.’s fiscal resources.

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