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November 6, 2019 4:32 pm

Israel Calls for ‘Deep and Comprehensive Change’ at UN Palestinian Refugee Aid Agency After Leader’s Resignation

avatar by Algemeiner Staff

Pierre Krahenbuhl, the commissioner-general of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), attends a news conference in Geneva, Switzerland, Jan. 29, 2019. Photo: Reuters / Denis Balibouse / File.

The resignation of Pierre Krahenbuhl as commissioner-general of UNRWA on Wednesday was “but the first step in a long process that is needed to eliminate corruption, increase transparency, and prevent politicization” of the UN agency that aids Palestinian refugees, the Israeli Foreign Ministry said.

“Israel views with great concern the recently published findings of the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) investigation into UNRWA and calls for the full and transparent release of all findings of the investigation,” the Foreign Ministry stated. “These findings strengthen Israel’s claims that deep and comprehensive change in the operational model of the agency is required.”

“Under the leadership of UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krahenbuhl over the past several years, the politicization of UNRWA has expanded, the budget deficit has inflated, and the operational model has become unsustainable,” it continued.

“Israel calls on the international community and all contributing countries to take part in an evaluation process to create a new and more effective operational model,” the Foreign Ministry added. “The recent developments prove that the automatic renewal of UNRWA’s mandate for three more years is absolutely absurd, immoral, and unreasonable.”

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Israeli Foreign Minister Yisrael Katz said, “UNRWA’s conduct illustrates that the agency is part of the problem, and not part of the solution. The agency perpetuates the refugee issue in a political manner, and in doing so distances any possibility for a future resolution. The international community needs to find a new model that will provide humanitarian assistance to those who truly need it, and must remove from the agenda the futile idea of the return of the refugees.”

The Jewish state’s UN ambassador, Danny Danon, said, “Since its establishment, UNRWA has not worked to resolve the refugee issue, but instead fought hard to perpetuate it. The growing list of charges related to the agency’s conduct makes it clear that there is no other solution except to close it.”

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