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CIR: extending UNRWA mandate victory for refugee issue, slap to Washington and occupation

Council on International Relations – Palestine, praised the decision of the United Nations General Assembly on Friday to extend the mandate of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA), considering it a victory for the Palestinian cause and a slap to Washington and the Israeli occupation.

The council considered in a statement issued on Saturday that the resolution is a failure for the Israeli occupation diplomacy, which has worked hard during the past period to liquidate and marginalize the refugee issue.

“The General Assembly’s decision is a slap to Trump and his administration, which attacked the agency with unfair measures to liquidate it, cutting off funding and seeking to redefine the refugee,” the statement said.

The CIR thanked the countries that voted in favor of the resolution, noting that this absolute majority is evidence that the world still believes that the Palestinian issue is a just cause and that Palestinian refugees have the right to return to their homes.

Based on this resolution, the Council called on the international community to continue to support UNRWA to cover the deficits left by attempts to liquidate them, as well as to pressure the occupation to allow refugees to return to their homes.

Contrary to what “Israel” and the administration of US President Donald Trump had hoped, the United Nations voted overwhelmingly to renew the mandate of UNRWA until 2023, with 170 countries voting in favor, two against the United States and “Israel”, and seven abstaining.

Palestinian Experts warn of American efforts to Arabize, undermine UNRWA

Gaza Experts warned of US and Israeli efforts to Arabize and weaken UNRWA by pushing donors to stop their financial aid.

This came during a political meeting entitled “UNRWA: to where in the light of the financial crisis and corruption investigations?”, organized by Council on International Relations -Palestine in Gaza City, attended representatives of Palestinian factions and political analysts.

“UNRWA is not going through a financial crisis only but a political one, made by the US administration, in preparation for implementing “the Deal of the Century”, liquidating the refugees’ issue and ending the UNRWA’s work “, the attendants said.

Dr. Basem Naim, head of the Council, said there is a consensus that the real crisis is political, and reflects the Zionist-American conspiracy to end the UNRWA and to pave the way to end the Palestinian refugees’ issue.

For his part, Dr. Samir Abu Modallalah, a researcher at the Refugee Centre for Community Development, said the financial crisis has been inherent to UNRWA since its establishment, but with the signing of the Oslo Agreement in 1993, attempts were clear to end the Agency and throw it into the lap of Arab countries and the Palestinian Authority.

Abu Modallala said: “the core of the UNRWA crisis is political because “ending UNRWA will end the refugee’s issue.”

He explained that UNRWA is a temporary institution ad defined by the United Nations, and is renewed every three years. That leads us to wonder why its budget is not as permanent as UNESCO and FAO?!

He added, “We need to work on two levels: First, how to reduce UNRWA’s financial expenses in return for increasing services for refugees. Second, to move politically and reduce the pressure on the Agency, for fear that UNRWA becomes an Arab institution that is thrown into the Arab’s lap.

Huwaidi stressed that the US administration and the Israeli Occupation do not hesitate to seize any opportunity to pressure the United Nations to reduce moral and financial support to UNRWA.

“the fastest the findings of the UN Commission of Inquiry declared, the better for the donors to keep supporting the agency,” Hwaidi said in terms of corruption investigations in UNRWA.

Mandate renewal

UNRWA spokesman Adnan Abu Hasna said that UNRWA does not have the authority to renew its mandate, a vote of the Member States of the United Nations General Assembly does.

He said that UNRWA has been facing financial challenges since 2018 when the United States decided to reduce its aid from $360 million annual budget to only $60 million.

“We faced a large deficit of $446 million which is an existential deficit. Any organization that loses 40% of its budget is exposed to collapse. However, UNRWA was able to fill this gap ”, Abu Hasna added.

“Before UNRWA’s new mandate, are we optimistic or pessimistic?” Abu Hasna said, “We fear the nature of the region and events, but there is a great support for UNRWA and its role in the new mandate,” he said.

Regarding the Agency’s corruption investigations, Abu Hasna said some allegations are being investigated by a UN team, no conclusions are reached to date.

He explained that UNRWA is not only the only organization with allegations and investigations; “But as soon as these allegations came out, we were surprised that Israeli and US officials demanded the liquidation of UNRWA, including US President Donald Trump’s Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt,” he said.

CIR: US attack on UNRWA shows malicious intentions to liquidate it under pretext of fighting corruption

Council on International Relations – Palestine said that the US administration and the Israeli occupation are actively seeking to liquidate UNRWA armed with media leaks that have not yet been proven about the existence of misconduct within UNRWA.

In a press release issued on Thursday, the council expressed its concern toward the leaks about corruption within UNRWA, calling for a comprehensive and transparent investigation.

The Council expressed its concern at the same time of the American and Israeli role that may be behind these leaks after the attack against the Agency during the past few months.

“The timing of the disclosure of these leaks is suspicious, especially as the vote for a new term for UNRWA will take place next September during the meeting of the General Assembly of the UN.” The Council said.

In its statement, the Council called on the countries that had suspended their assistance to the Agency to back down from their decision because “what we were witnessing now were mere allegations that had not yet been proven.”

The Council called on the international community and the Secretary-General of the United Nations to fortify the work of the Agency, maintain its role and support it in light of the fierce attack against it, and also the need to hold accountable anyone who is implicated in this corruption.

The media leaks have claimed that officials of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) have been involved in suspicions of misconduct. The United Nations, for its part, has formed a UN committee to investigate the validity of these allegations.