UAE drastically cut funding for Palestinian refugee agency: report

UAE drastically cut aid to Palestinians following normalisation with Israel: report
2 min read
06 February, 2021
Bahrain, another Gulf state that normalised ties with Israel, also reduced its donations to UNRWA.
The Palestinians condemned the normalisation as a "stab in the back" [Getty]
Aid to a UN agency for Palestinian refugees from the UAE has seen a massive cut, it emerged, after a report showed that funding dropped from over $50 million to just $1 million in 2020, amid normalisation of ties between Abu Dhabi and Israel.

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) received $53 million from UAE in 2018, and $51 million in 2019, but last year the check was for just $1 million, a report by Israeli research institute Center for Near East Policy Research said.

Bahrain, another Gulf state that normalised ties with Israel in recent months, also reduced its donations to UNRWA, the institute added, without disclosing the exact figures.

The drastic cut in funding was "revenge" for Palestinians' stern rejection of the US-brokered normalisation deal between Israel and Arab states, Israel's Channel 12 suggested, citing the report. 

The deal, known as the "Abraham Accords", shattered a longstanding Arab consensus that there should be no normalisation with Israel until it reaches a comprehensive peace deal with the Palestinians.

The Palestinians condemned the agreements as a "stab in the back".

UNRWA, whose 28,000 employees are mostly refugees, provides services such as education and healthcare to more than five million Palestinians in camps in Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and the Palestinian territories.

Israel has long pushed for UNRWA's closure, arguing it helps perpetuate the conflict with the Palestinians.

It criticises its method of classifying Palestinian refugees since their descendants are also eligible for the status.

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