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August 28, 2018 1:36 pm

American UN Envoy: UNRWA Must Reform if It Wants US Funding

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Palestinians pass by the gate of an UNRWA-run school in Nablus, Aug. 13, 2018. Photo: Reuters / Abed Omar Qusini.

The UN Palestinian refugee aid agency, UNRWA, must reform before the US can consider restoring its funding of the group to past levels, a top American diplomat said on Tuesday.

Speaking at a Foundation for Defense of Democracies think tank event in Washington, DC, US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley called out the Palestinian Authority for “bashing” the Trump administration while at the same time expecting American handouts.

“We were supposed to the last time give them $130 million, we cut it in half, saying they really needed to reform and fix they things they were doing, because they teach anti-Israeli and anti-American things in their textbooks,” Haley said. “They are not doing things that would necessarily cause peace. It’s very political.”

“So instead of the $130 million, we give them $65 million,” she continued. “They didn’t say thank you. UNRWA had them protest in the streets. So at the last Security Council meeting we had on the Palestinian issue and UNRWA, I went and said, ‘You are all so quick to wag your finger at us for not giving more. Where is Saudi Arabia? Where is the United Arab Emirates? Where is Kuwait? Where are all of those countries? Do they not care about Palestinians to go and give money to make sure these kids are taken care of? If the region doesn’t invest in those areas, why are we being faulted for not investing in those areas? They have to have skin in the game. They’re the ones that fight me every day on Israel issues. Yet they don’t give a penny when it comes to any more than they have to. They give tokens, and then we still are the largest donor of UNRWA at the same time.”

“We will be a donor [to UNRWA] if it reforms what it does,” Haley stated. “If it goes and makes sure that they’re not doing these teachings in textbooks, if they actually change the number of refugees to an accurate count, we will look back and partner with them.”

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