RFI

UN agency for Palestinian refugees in financial emergency

Will the UN agency for Palestinian refugees be able to maintain its services until the end of the year? UNRWA evokes an emergency situation: it says it needs $ 70 million to complete its 2020 budget. A meeting of its governing council is taking place on Monday. It hopes to obtain this sum from donor states, otherwise it may have to suspend essential services. With our correspondent in Jerusalem, Guilhem Delteil With Donald Trump, UNRWA lost the support of the United States, the largest contributor to the agency’s budget. But without being at open war against it, as the current US administration is, other states are also more reluctant to put their hands in their pockets. On the issue of Palestinian refugees, a subject of contention between the parties to the conflict. , “The speech is clearly stiffened” recognizes a diplomatic source. The UAE made no contribution in 2020 and Saudi Arabia pledged $ 50 million, but only paid half of it. The agency now says it is unable to pay full salaries. of its employees without any new financial return. And she warns: schools could be closed if she doesn’t get an extension. More than 500,000 students could be deprived of education until the beginning of next year. If it must find itself confronted with the need to make choices about the services to be interrupted, the agency, in a period of a pandemic, will give priority to its health centers. Within UNRWA, the concern for this end of the year is real. Agency officials hope to take advantage of this meeting of the governing council to mobilize donors, especially those in the Gulf. Tensions have mounted in recent months between the Palestinian leadership and the countries of this region, after the announcement by the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain of a normalization of their relations with Israel.