(February 1, 2018 / JNS) The United Nations Relief Works Agency (UNRWA), defunded recently by the United States for encouraging anti-Israel incitement and perpetuating Palestinian dependency, has launched a $800 million appeal for funding, $400 million of which would be earmarked for actions in Judea, Samaria and Gaza.
The campaign is being disseminated under the #DignityIsPriceless hashtag on social media. It includes a personal appeal on Twitter to Pope Francis to “support our quest to preserve education” and warns that urgent funds are needed for “millions of #Palestine refugees who are at risk of losing life-saving services.”
UNRWA Commissioner General, Pierre Krahenbuhl stated that the organization is suffering a “critical financial crisis” due to a decision by the United States earlier this month to withhold $65 million in funding.
UNRWA was established by the UN General Assembly in 1949 in order to assist local Arabs who evacuated Israel or were displaced during Israel’s War of Independence. The organization is the only UN agency established to deal with refugees from a single conflict. All other refugee situations fall under the auspices of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
UNRWA is unique in that it is solely dedicated to the Palestinians, unlike UNHRC, which deals with all refugees elsewhere around the world. Similarly, UNRWA allows the descendents of Palestinian refugees to claim refugee status, a distinction which is unique only to the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians.
During the 2014 conflict in Gaza, UNRWA was condemned for allowing terrorists to utilize their facilities to store and fire rockets at Israel.