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CIR: UNRWA should redouble efforts to confront schemes aim to liquidate agency

In a congratulatory letter to the new UNRWA Commissioner-General

CIR: UNRWA should redouble efforts to confront schemes aim to liquidate agency

 

Council of International Relations – Palestine (CIR) said that UNRWA should redouble its efforts to confront schemes aim to liquidate the agency, expressing its readiness to cooperate with the new Commissioner-General in facing these schemes.

In a congratulatory letter sent by the head of CIR to the new UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini, Naim urged Lazzarini to cooperate with all relevant parties, inside and outside Palestine, to overcome any difficulties so that “we can get this crisis over and behind, and guarantee the refugees a decent life, until their dream of return and compensation is fulfilled”.

“You must be aware that the UNRWA has been a direct target of many parties, foremost of which is the Israeli occupation with unlimited support from the United States of America, in a desperate attempt to write off the refugee issue by undermining the UNRWA’s work. This is why we all, with the UNRWA administration at the forefront, have to double efforts to confront this targeting”, Naim said in the letter.

Naim noted to the biggest contrived financial crisis the Agency is going through since its foundation in an attempt to abort its ability to provide services to more than five million Palestinian refugees. He said: “This crisis comes in the midst of sensitive and dangerous conditions, where the region is beset by internal wars and inter-conflicts, which affected everyone, especially the Palestinian refugees, the last of which was Corona pandemic, which brought the world to an unprecedented state of lockdown.”

The CIR head mentioned in particular the Gaza Strip, in which 2 million people live, 70% of whom are refugees under the supervision of the Agency, has been living under an Israeli blockade for more than 14 years that nearly destroyed all basics of having a normal human life especially on the health, social and economic levels.

He said: “The Gaza Strip is in urgent need for support from all to protect it from the worst-case scenario, especially in light of the Corona pandemic. UNRWA can play an important and effective role in this respect.”

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) announced in a press release last month that, following official communication by the office of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and consultations with the Agency’s Advisory Commission, Philippe Lazzarini has been appointed as its new Commissioner-General (CG).

CIR: Saunders statements confirm UNRWA crisis political, not just financial

Council on International Relations – Palestine said that the statements of the UNRWA Acting Commissioner-General, Christian Saunders, confirm what the council went before that the crisis is political, not financial.

The Council noted in a brief statement Monday that Saunders’ statements demonstrate beyond any doubt that the United States and the Israeli occupation are striving to liquidate UNRWA and end the Palestinian refugee issue.

In its statement, the CIR called on the international community, especially the UN, the European Union and foreign parliaments, not to surrender to this attack and to mobilize support for the agency, and not to give the American administration and the Israeli occupation the opportunity to implement their plans that aim to liquidate the agency.

The Acting Commissioner-General of UNRWA, Christian Saunders, has accused the United States and “Israel” of working against the agency and pressuring foreign parliaments to stop donations.

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.

CIR condemns Israeli attack against Dutch minister ” Sigrid Kaag” for supporting UNRWA

Council on International Relations – Palestine condemned the fierce criticism Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation of the Netherlands, Sigrid Kaag faces from figures that support the Israeli occupation.

The criticism came after the minister ” Kaag ” funded UNRWA with 13 million euros to help it after the US decision of reducing the Agency’s financial assistance.

The Council said in a statement issued on Sunday that this attack indicates the Israeli policy aimed at annihilating the  Palestinian refugees issue by cutting off support for them and the institutions that support them.

The CIR thanked the Minister for her supportive attitude towards the Palestinians, her great step in rejecting the American decision against UNRWA and the insistence on providing financial assistance to UNRWA.

The Council called on all countries to stand by the Palestinian refugees and support them to avoid the annihilation of one of the issues that could threaten peace in the region and affect the rights of the Palestinian people guaranteed by international law.