وكالة الأمم المتحدة لإغاثة وتشغيل اللاجئين الفلسطينيين في الشرق الأدنى

وكالة الأمم المتحدة لإغاثة وتشغيل اللاجئين الفلسطينيين في الشرق الأدنى
United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East Logo.svg
الاختصارUNRWA
النطق
  • الأونروا
التشكل8 ديسمبر 1949; منذ 72 سنة (1949-12-08
النوعغير حكومية
الوضع القانونيغير ربحية
الغرضتوفير الإغاثة المباشرة وبرامج العمل للائجين الفلسطينيين
المقر الرئيسيعمان، الأردن وقطاع غزة، فلسطين
المنطقة
الشام
الخدماتالتعليم، الرعاية الصحية، الخدمات الإجتماعية/الإغاثة، تحسين وضع المخيمات/البنية التحتية، المساعدات المالية متناهية الصغر واستجابات الطواريء[1]
المجالsالمساعدة الإنسانية
المفوض العام
فيليپ لازاريني
نائب المفوض العام
لني ستنسث
المنظمة الأم
الأمم المتحدة
الميزانية (2020)
806 مليون دولار [2]
الطاقم
30.000
الموقع الإلكترونيwww.unrwa.org
عمليات الأونروا، اعتباراً من 1 يناير 2017.

وكالة الأمم المتحدة لإغاثة وتشغيل اللائجين الفلسطينيين في الشرق الأدنى (بالإنگليزية: United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East، اختصاراً الأنوروا UNRWA، هي إحدى وكالات الأمم المتحدة التي تقوم بدعم إغاثة اللائجين الفلسطينيين وتنميتهم. وتركز الأنوروا على الفلسطينيين الذين تم تشريدهم في حرب 1948 والصراعات التي تلتها واحفادهم أيضًا،[3][4] بما في ذلك الأطفال المتبنون قانونيًا.[5] بحلول عام 2019، بلغ عدد الفلسطينيين المسجلين لدى الأنوروا باعتبارهم لاجئين 5.6 مليون فلسطيني.[6]

قامت الجمعية العامة للأمم المتحدة بتأسيس وكالة الأنوروا عام 1949 من أجل تقديم الغوث للائجيين الناجمين عن حرب 1948، قدمت الوكالة أيضًا المساعدة للاجئين اليهود والعرب داخل الأراضي المحتلة بعد حرب 1948 إلى أن تولت الحكومة الإسرائيلية مسئوليتهم 1952.[7][8][9] وكوكالة تابعة للجمعية العامة للأمم المتحدة، ويخضع تكليف الأونروا لتجديد دوري كل ثلاث سنوات؛ ويتم تجديدها بشكل منتظم منذ تأسيسها، وتم تجديد أخر تكليف لها ليستمر إلى 30 يونيو 2023.[10]

تقوم الأنروا بتشغيل أكثر من 30,000 شخص، معظمهم لاجئين فلسطينين وعدد من الموظفين من جميع أنحاء العالم.[11] كانت مهمتها الأساسية الإغاثة والتشغيل، وتوسعت مهامها لتشمل التعليم والرعاية الصحية، والخدمات الاجتماعية للفئة المستهدفة. تعمل الوكالة في خمس مناطق: الأردن ولبنان وسوريا وقطاع غزة والضفة الغربية التي تضم القدس الشرقية؛[12] أما تقديم المساعدة للاجئين الفلسطينين خارج تلك المناطق الخمس فهو مسئولية المفوضية العليا للأمم المتحدة لشؤون اللاجئين.[13]

والأنوروا هي الوكالة الوحيدة التابعة للأمم المتحدة المختصة في تقديم المساعدة للاجئين من منطقة معينة أو ناجمين عن صراع معين.[14] وهي منفصلة عن المفوضية العليا، التي أُسست عام 1950 كوكالة لتقديم المسعدات للاجئين من جميع أنحاء العالم، وعلى عكس الأنوروا، فالمفوضية مهمتها الأساسية تتلخص في مساعدة الاجئين للتحول من حالة اللجوء من خلال الإدماج المحلي في البلد الحالي أو إعادة التوطين في بلد ثالث أو الإعادة إلى الوطن عند إتاحة الفرصة.[15]

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التاريخ والعمليات

دولة فلسطين الخروج الفلسطيني 1948
Man see school nakba.jpg

المقالات الرئيسية
الخروج الفلسطيني 1948


الحرب الأهلية 1947-48
الحرب الإسرائيلية العربية 1948
حرب فلسطين 1948
أسباب الخروج
المناطق المخلاة
يوم النكبة
معسكرات اللاجئين الفلسطينيين
اللاجئ الفلسطيني
حق العودة الفلسطيني
الغائب الحاضر
لجنة الترحيل
القرار 194

خلفية
الانتداب البريطاني على فلسطين
إعلان إستقلال إسرائيل
تاريخ الصراع الإسرائيلي-الفلسطيني
المؤرخون الجدد
فلسطين • الخطة دالت
خطة التقسيم 1947 • اونروا UNRWA

الأحداث الرئيسية
معركة حيفا
مذبحة دير ياسين
الخروج من اللد

أبرز الكتاب
عارف العارف • يؤاڤ گلبر
إفرايم كارش • وليد خالدي
نور مصالحة • بني موريس
إيلان پاپه • توم سگڤ
أڤرهام سلا • آڤي شلايم
رشيد خالدي • جوسف مسعد

تصنيفات/قوائم ذات صلة
القرى المفرَّغة
قبل حرب فلسطين 1948

القرى المفرَّغة
أثناء حرب فلسطين 1948

قوالب ذات صلة
الفلسطينيون • الصهيونية
الصراع الإسرائيلي-العربي
الصراع الإسرائيلي-الفلسطيني


عقب إندلاع حرب 1948 والنكبة، أصدرت الجمعية العامة للأمم المتحدة القرار 2121 (الثالث)، في 19 نوفمبر 1948، لتأسيس وكالة الأمم المتحدة لإغاثة وتشغيل الاجئيين الفلسطينيين لتقديم الإغاثة العاجلة للاجئيين الفلسطينيين بالتنسيق مع وكالات الأمم المتحدة الأخرى أو المنظمات الإنسانية الأخرى.[16] وكاستجابة للجوانب السياسية للإزمة، اعتمدت الجمعية العامة بعد أقل من شهر قرار حق العودة للاجئين الفلسطينيين، إنشاء لجنة المصالحة التابعة للأمم المتحدة والمعنية بفلسطين، والتي تتخلص مهمتها في المساعدة للتوصل إلى تسوية نهائية بين الأطراف المتحاربة، وتسهيل إعادة اللاجئين وإعادة توطينهم وإعادة تأهيلهم اقتصاديًا واجتماعيًا" بالتعاون مع وكالة الأمم المتحدة لإغاثة اللاجئين الفلسطينيين.[16] وفي ذلك الحين، بلغ عدد الذين تسببت الأزمة في تشريدهم 700,000 شخص.[17]

إجمالي أعداد اللائجين الفلسطينيين المسجلين من قبل الأونروا (1950–2008)

أوصت لجنة المصالحة التابعة للأمم المتحدة والمعنية بفلسطين، بعد أن فشلت في حل "الأزمة الفلسطينية" التي تتطلب حلول سياسية خارج نطاق صلاحيتها، إنشاء "وكالة تابعة للأمم المتحدة مختصة بأنشطة تقديم الإغاثة وبدء مشاريع لخلق فرص العمل " لحين التوصل بعد إلى حل نهائي.[16] عملا بهذه التوصية، وبالفقرة 11 من القرار 194، المعنية بالاجئين، اعتمد الجمعية العامة في 8 ديسمر 1949 القرار 302 (الرابع) لتأسيس وكالة الأمم المتحدة لإغاثة وتشغيل اللاجئين الفلسطينيين في الشرق الأدنى (الأنوروا).[18] اعتمد القرار وبدون اعتراض، ودعمت إسرائيل والدول العربية القرار، مع امتناع الكتلة السوڤيتية وجنوب أفريقيا فقط عن التصويت.[19]

خلفت الأنوروا وكالة الأمم المتحدة لإغاثة اللاجئين الفلسطينيين ولكن مع مسئوليات على نطاق أوسع تتعلق بالمساعدة الإنسانية والتنمية واشتراط العمل بصورة محايدة.[20] عندما شرعت في العمل عام 1950، وكان النطاق الأول لعملها هو "برامج الإغاثة والأعمال المباشرة" لللاجئين الفلسطينيين، من أجل تجنب المجاعة والمعاناة... ولتوفير السلام والاستقرار".[20] وبعد فترة قصيرة تم توسيع نطاق مهام الأنرووا من خلال القرار 393 (الخامس) الصادر في 2 ديسمبر 1950، وبموجبه أصُدرت تعليمات إلى الوكالة بأن تقوم "بإنشاء صندوق لإعادة الإدماج يُستخدم من أجل إعادة التوطين الدائمة للاجئين وإبعادهم ع الإغاثة". خصص قرار أخر صادر في 25 يناير 1952 تمويل من أجل إعادة الدمج أكبر بأربعة أضعاف من التمويل المخصص للإغاثة، وطلب من الأنوروا الاستمرار في تقديم البرامج المتعلقة بالرعاية الصحية، والتعليم والرعاية العامة.[16]


تعريف اللاجيء

بالرغم أن هناك عدة فئات من اللاجئين الفلسطينيين والنازحين المحليين.. فهناك لاجئو عام 1948 وأبناؤهم، وهناك نازحون داخل إسرائيل، ونازحون نتيجة حرب 1967. لكن الأونروا تغطي اللاجئين الفلسطينيين المقيمين في 5 مناطق، هي: الضفة الغربية وقطاع غزة ولبنان والأردن وسوريا.

حيث عرفت الأونروا اللاجئ الفلسطيني بأنه الشخص الذي كان يقيم في فلسطين خلال الفترة من 1 يونيو 1946 حتى 15 مايو 1948 الذي فقد بيته ومورد رزقه نتيجة حرب 1948. وعليه فإن اللاجئين الفلسطينيين الذين يحق لهم تلقي المساعدات من الأونروا هم الذين ينطبق عليهم هذا التعريف إضافة إلى أبنائهم. وفي مايو 1951 تسلمت الأونروا قائمة بأسماء 950,000 شخص من المنظمات الدولية الأخرى التي كانت تتولى شؤون اللاجئين الفلسطينيين قبل تأسيس الأونروا.

فقامت الأونروا بتقليص عدد اللاجئين المذكورين في القائمة ليصبح 860,000 لاجئ، وذلك بعد إحصاء وتدقيق لشطب أسماء من لا يحق لهم الانتفاع من خدمات الوكالة وأسماء من سبق تسجيلهم بطريقة غير شرعية، يبلغ عدد لاجئي عام 1948 المسجلين مع أبنائهم حوالي 3.8 ملايين لاجئ يقيمون في الضفة الغربية وغزة والأردن ولبنان وسوريا، وهي الفئة المشمولة بخدمات الأونروا، وهناك كثير من اللاجئين الفلسطينيين لا يتمتعون بخدمات الأونروا؛ إما لأنهم غير مسجلين لديها أو أنهم يقيمون خارج مناطق عملياتها.

التنظيم والاختصاص

وكالة الأونروا هي هيئة فرعية تابعة للجمعية العامة للأمم المتحدة، أنشئت عملًا بالمادة رقم 7 (2) و22 من مواد ميثاق الأمم المتحدة.[21] وهي واحدة من وكالتين فقط تابعتين للأمم المتحدة تقومان بتقديم تقاريرهما مباشرة إلى الجمعية العامة.[22][Note 1] وتحدد قرارات الجمعية العامة بشكل أساسي نطاق عمل الأونروا وتجديد تكليفها؛ على عكس المنظمات الأخرى التابع للأمم المتحدة، مثل منظمة الصحة العالمية أو مكتب المفوضية العليا لللاجئين، فهي لا تتمتع بميثاق أو نظام داخلي.[22] ويمكن تشكيل تكليفها أيضًا بناء على طلبات من أعضاء أخرين داخل الأمم المتحدة، مثل الأمين العام.[22] تصدر الجمعية العامة عددًا من القرارات سنويًا تتعلق بمهام الأونروا ومسئولياتها وميزانيتها، لأنها عمليًا تعتبر منظمة مؤقتة،[22] ويتم تجديد تكليف الوكالة كل ثلاث سنوات، وتم تجديدها مؤخرًا في 13 ديسمبر 2019، وحتى تاريخ 30 يونيو 2023.[10][23]

ويترأس الوكالة منذ 8 مارس 2020 المفوض العام فيليب لازاريني وكيل الأمين العام للأمم المتحدة السويسري والمسئول عن إدارة جميع أنشطة الوكالة وموظفيها.[22][24] ويقوم المفوض العام باختيار وتعيين جميع موظفي الوكالة، عملًا بالنظم والقواعد الداخلية، ويقوم بتقديم تقارير الوكالة مباشرة إلى الجمعية العامة.[22] ويتم تقسيم مهام الوكالة على خمس مناطق هم؛ الأردن وسوريا ولبنان والضفة العربية وغزة ولكل منطقة من المناطق السابقة مدير مسئول عن توزيع المساعدات الإنسانية ومراقبة مهام الوكالة العامة. وللأونروا مقران أحدهما في قطاع غزة والأخر في عمان، ويستضيف مقر الأونروا في الأردن نائب المفوض العام الحالي، النرويجي ليني ستنسث، المسئول عن أنشطة الإدارات المتعلقة بالتعليم والرعاية الصحية والتمويل.[25]

تعتبر الأونروا أكبر منظمات الأمم المتحدة، ويتغطى عدد موظفيها 30,000 موظف 99% منهم فلسطينيون.[26][27]

المفوضية الاستشارية

بالتزامن مع تأسيس الأونروا، قامت الجمعية العامة للأمم المتحدة بتأسيس المفوضية الاستشارية لمساعدة المفوض العام في إدارةالوكالة [28] وكانت تتكون من أربعة أعضاء في بداية تأسسيها، وتضم حالية المفوضية الاستشارية 28 عضو وأربعة مراقبين، يتم تعيين الأعضاء من خلال قرارات الجمعية العامة، وتضم المفوضية أعضاء من جميع البلدان المضيفة للاجئين الفلطسينيين (الأردن، سوريا، لبنان)، يليهما 24 كبار المتبرعين للأونورا وداعميها. كما حصلت فلسطين والإتحاد الأوروبي والجامعة العربية على مرتبة المراقب منذ عام 2005 كما أنضمت منظمة التعاون الإسلامي إلى مجموعة المراقبين عام 2019.[29]

أما أعضاء المفوضية الاستشارية فهم؛ أستراليا (2005)، بلجيكا (1953)، البرازيل (2014)، كندا (2005)، الدنمارك (2005)، مصر(1949)، فنلندا (2008)، فرنسا (1949)، ألمانيا (2005)، إيرلندا (2008)، إيطاليا (2005)، اليابان (1973)، الأردن (1973)، كازاخستان (2013)، الكويت (2010)، لبنان (1953)، لوكسمبورگ (2012)، هولندا (2005)، النرويگ (2005)، قطر (2018)، السعودية (2005)، إسبانيا (2005)، السويد (2005)، سويسرا (2005)، سوريا (1949)، تركيا (1949)، الإمارات (2014)، المملكة المتحدة (1949)، الولايات المتحدة (1949).[29]

وتولى أحد الدول المضيفة رئاسة المفوضية الإستشارية بينما يتولى منصب نائب الرئيس أحد الدول المانحة، ويتم تعينهم في شهر يونيو من كل عام من بين أعضاء المفوضية وفقًا للترتيب الأبجدي للدول ولمدة عام بداية من 1 يوليو.[30] وفي كل دورة، تتناوب البلد المضيفة والبلد المانحة على منصب الرئيس.[30]

وتجتمع المفوضية مرتين في لعام، غالبًأ ما يكونوا في يونيو ونوفمبر، لمناقشة المسائل المهمة المتعلقة بالأونروا ووضع توجيهات للمفوض العام تستند إلى توافق الآراء.[31] بالإضافة إلى ذلك يعقد الأعضاء والمراقبون اجتماعات أكثر انتظامًا وهي اجتماعات اللجان الفرعية.[31] وتقوم المفوضية بزيارات ميدانية على فترات لمناطق عمل الأونروا.[32]

مناطق عمل الأونروا

خدمات الأونروا متاحية لجميع اللاجئين الفلسطينيين المسجلين الذين يعيشون في مناطق عمل الوكالة وبحجاة إلى المساعدة. بدأت الأونروا عملها عام 1950، وكانت تستهدف تلبية احتياجات 700,000 لاجئ فلسطيني، وبحلول عام 2019، وصل عدد المسجلين ممن هم بحاجة إلى خدمات الأونروا إلى 5.6 مليون شخص.[33]

تقوم الوكالة بتوفير المرافق في 59 مخيم للاجئين الفلسطينيين في الأردن ولبنان وسوريا والضفة الغربية وقطاع غزة، ومناطق أخرى حيث يعيش هناك عدد كبير من اللاجئيين الفلسطينيين المسجليين خارج المخيمات المعروفة.

ولكي تعترف الأونروا بالمخيم، يجب أن يكون هناك اتفاق بين الحكومة المضيفة وواتفاق بين الحكومة المضيفة والأونروا ينظم استخدام المخيم، لأن الأونروا لا تقوم بإدارة المخيمات بنفسها، وليس لها صلاحيات شرطة أو أي دور إداري، فهي ببساطة تقدم خدمات للمخيم. ويغيش في مخيمات اللاجئيين، والتي تطورت من كونها مدن خيمية إلى مساكن حضرية كثيفة السكان المماثلة لمحيطها الحضري ، حوالي ثلث مجموع اللاجئين الفلسطينيين المسجليين.

التمويل

تقوم الجمعية العامة للأمم المتحدة بوضع ميزانية الأونروا وتستمد تلك الميزانية بالكامل تقريبًا من التبرعات المقدمة من الدول الأعضاء في الأمم المتحدة، وتتلقى أيضًا بعض الإيرادات من الميزانية العادية للأمم المتحدة، معظمها من أجل تكاليف التوظيف الدولي.[34] وبالإضافة إلى الميزانية العادية، تتلقى الأونروا تمويل من أجل الأنشطة العاجلة والمشاريع الخاصة، مثل الحرب الأهلية السورية وجائحة كورونا.[35]

تاريخيًا، فأن معظم تمويل الوكالة تأتي من الولايات المتحدة والمفوضية الأوروبية؛[36][37][38] أما بداية من 2019، فأن حوالي 60% من التبرعات التي تصل إلى 100 مليار دولار أمريكي تأتى من دول الإتحاد الأوروبي وتعتبر ألمانيا أكبر دولة مانحة بشكل فردي.[39] يأتي بعدها الإتحاد الأوروبي، والمملكة المتحدة والسويد والإمارات،[39] ثم السعودية وفرنسا واليابان وقطر وهولندا.[39][40] تقوم الوكالة أيضًا بتكوين شراكات مع مانحيين غير حكوميين، ومنهم "اللجان الوطنية" غير الهادفة للربح والتي توجد داخل الدول المانحة.[41]

تسببت الطبيعة التطوعية لوسيلة تمويل الأونروا في مشاكل في ميزانيتها بسبب الحالات الطارئة الحادة والتطورات السياسية التي تقع في الدول المانحة.[42] ففي 2009، تحدث المسئول عن "أزمة مالية خطيرة"، بما في ذلك عجز في التمويل وصل إلى 200 مليون دولار، وذلك في صحوة العدوان الإسرائيلي على قطاع غزة[43][44] في أغسطس 2018، أوقفت الولايات المتحدة المساهمات زاعمة بأنه ينبغي تقليص تكليف الأونروا إلى مئات الآلاف من الفلسطينيين الذين كانوا على قيد الحياة عند نشأة الوكالة فقط.[45] وتسبب قرار الولايات المتحدة في خسارة الميزانية المقدرة ب 1.2 دولار أمريكي 300 مليون دولار، مما ساهم في عجز بلغ 446 مليون دولار.[46] وتم سد هذا العجز بزيادة المساهمات الممنوحة من أماكن أخرى.[46]

في منتصف 2019، أوقفت هولندا وبلجيكا وسويسرا المساعدات بشك مؤقت إلى الأونروا، محتجين بتقرير الأخلاقيات الذين يفيد وجود بسوء إدارة قيادات الوكالة وفسادهم ووجود أشكال من العنصرية.[47] في ديسمبر 2019، إعادات تمويلها، وزادته ليصبح 19 مليون يورو بعد أن كان 6 مليون يورو فقط في 2019.[48] كما قام الإتحاد الأوروبي بزيادة الاسهامات من 82 مليون يورو (92.2 مليون دولار) إلى 21 مليون يورو (23.3 مليون دولار أمريكي)، ووافقت ألمانيا على تمويل أربع مشاريع جديدة تابعة للوكالة والبالغة تكلفتهم 59 مليون يورو (65.6 مليون دولار أمريكي).[49] وزادت قطر تبرعهاتها للفلسطينيين في سوريا لتصل إلى 20.7 مليون دولار، وبحلول 2019 بلغت 40 مليون دولار.[50]

تم مناقشة وضع ميزانية 2019 والسنة التي تاليها في أبريل في "الحوار الاستراتيجي الوزاري" والذي حضره ممثلون من مصر وفرنسا وألمانيا واليابان والكويت والنرويج والمملكة المتحدة والدائرة الأوروبية للشؤون الخارجية واللجنة الأوروبية.[51] وخلال الاجتماع السنوي للجمعية العامة في نفس العام تم عقد اجتماع وزاري رفيع المستوى لمناقشة تمويل الأونروا.[52] في يوليو 2020، حذر المفوض العام لاتساريني من "عدم استدامة ميزانية الوكالة، ووجود نقص فميزانية أربع سنوات من الخمس السابقة، وأن التمويل وصل إلى أدنى مستوياته منذ 2012.[42]

وحسب البنك الدولي، فأن غزة والضفة الغربية تتلقيان معونة للفرد الواحد تزيد على عن ضعف ما يتلاقاه الفرد من مساعدات، في جميع الدول التي تحصل على مساعدات دولية تتخطى 2 مليار دولار، حيث يتلقى الفرد ما يعادل 495 دولار.[53][54]

خدمات الأونروا

تقدم الأونروا خدمات اجتماعية وإنسانية متنوعة، وذلك وفقًا لقرارات الجمعية العامة للأمم المتحدة. منذ بداية تأسيسها عام 1949، توسعت مجال عملياتها لتتخطى التشغيل والخدمات الاجتماعية؛ وبداية من 2019، بدأ في إنفاق معظم ميزانيتها على التعليم (58 في المائة)، ووتأتي الرعاية الصحية في المرتبة الثانية (15 في المائة)، ثم تليها خدمات الدعم العام (19 في المائة) .[55]

برنامج التعليم

يعتبر التعليم أكثر الأنشطة التي تركز عليها الأونروا، فتخصص له أكثر من نصف ميزانيتها المعتادة، ومعظم العاملين بها.[56] وتقوم الأونروا بتشغيل واحد من أكبر الأنظمة التعليمية في الشرق الأوسط، ويشمل النظام 711 مدرسة ابتدائية وإعدادية وثمان مدارس مهنية وفنية، ومركزين لتدريب المعلمين.[56][57] كما أنها المقدم الرئيسي للتعليم الأساسي لللاجئين الفلسطينين منذ عام 1950. والتعليم الاساسي المجان متاح لجميع الاطفال اللاجئين المسجلين لدى الأونروا، الذي يبلغ عددهم حاليًا 526,000 طفل.[56] في ستينات القرن العشرين، أصبحت مدارس الأونروا أول مدارس في المنطقة تحقق المساوة الكاملة بين الجنسين،[58] والأغلبية الطفيفة من الطلاب المسجلين من الإناث.[56]

ونصف عدد اللاجئين الفلسطينيين أقل من 25، لذا فالفصول المزدحمة والذي يترواح فيها عدد الطلبة 40 أو حتى 50 طفل أمر شائع. تعلم ثلاثة أرباع المدارس بنظام الوردية المضاعفة، حيث يكون هناك مجموعتين منفصلتين من الطلبة والمدرسين في نفس المباني، حتى يتم تقليل وقت التدريس. وكثيرًا ما تتوقف السنة الدراسية بسبب الصراعات، مما جعل الأونروا تقوم بوضع برنامج خاص لتوفير تعليم أثناء الظروف الطارئة.[59]

وفقًا للاتفاق طويل الأمد، تتبع مدارس الأونروا منهج الدولة المضيفة، مما يسمح لطلبة الأونروا التقدم نحو مواصلة التعليم أو التوظيف وتحمل مؤهلات معترف بها محليًا وتمتثل لمتطلبات الدول المضيفة. حيثما يتاح، يقوم طلاب الأونروا بدخول الامتحانات الوطنية التي تجريها الحكومات المضيفة. وعادة ما يتفوق طلاب الأونروا على طلاب المدارس الحكومية في الامتحانات المحلية.[بحاجة لمصدر]

لا يرتاد جميع الاطفال اللاجئين مدارس الأونروا، ففي الأردن وسوريا، للاطفال الحق الكامل في دخول المدارس الحكومية، ويرتاد العديد منهم تلك المدارس لأنها قريبة من مسكنهم.


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برنامج الإغاثة والخدمات الاجتماعية

في مجتمع اللاجئين الفلطسينيين، يكون وضع العائلات التي لا يوجد بها عائل ذكر هش للغاية، فالأسر التي تقوم بإعالتها أرملة أو مطلقة أو أب عاجز تعاني من فقر مدقع.[60]

تعتبر تلك العائلات من "الحالات الصعبة"، ويمثلوا أقل من 6% من المستفيدين من مساعدات الأونوروا. تقدم الأونروا المساعدات الغذائية لتلك العاائلات، والمساعدات النقديمة كمان تساهم في إصلاح المساكن، بالإضافة إلى ذلك، ويتاح لأطفال الأسر التي عاني من ظروف صعبة الوصول التفضيلي إلى مراكز التدريب المهني التابعة للوكالة. أما بالنسبة لنساء تلك الأسر فيتم تشجيعهم على الانضمام إلى مراكز البرامج النسائية التابعة للأونروا، وهناك يتم توفير التدريب لهم والنصح ورعاية الأطفال من أجل تشجيعهم على النمو الاجتماعي.

أسست الوكالة منظمات على المستوى المجتمعي تستهدف النساء، واللاجئين من ذوي الإعاقة، ومن أجل رعاية حاجات الأطفال. تملك تلك المنظمات الآن لجان إدارية خاصة بها يعمل بها متطوعون من المجتمع المحلي. وتزودهم الأونروا بمبالغ تقنية ومبالغ صغيرة من المساعدة المالية المخصصة، غير أن العديد منها أقام روابط خاصة به مع منظمات غير حكومية محلية ودولية.

برنامج الصحة

تعتبر الأونروا هي الجهة الرئيسية التي تقدم الرعاية الصحية للاجئين الفلسطينيين منذ عام 1950.[61] ويتم توفير احتياجات الرعاية الصحية الأساسية عن طريق شبكة من عيادات الرعايةالأولية، وتوفر إمكانية الحصول على العلاج الثانوي في المستشفيات وتقدم المساعدات الغذائية للمجموعات التي تعاني من ظروف صعبة توفر بيئة صحية في مخيمات اللاجئين.

الأرقام البارزة عام 2014:

  • 139 مرفق للرعاية الصحية الأولية داخل أو بالقرب من مخيمات الأونروا
  • 3,107 عامل في مجال الصحة
  • 3,134,732 لاجئ حصلوا على خدمات صحية
  • 9,290,197 زيارة مرضى في العالم

لطالما تشابه الوضع الصحي لللاجئين الفلسطينيين مع وضع العديد من الشعوب التي تتحول من كونها دول نامية إلى دول متقدمة، ومع ذلك، هناك الآن تحول ديمغرافي.

يعيش الناس لفترة أطول، وتتكون لديهم احتياجات مختلفة، خاصة أولائك الذين يعانون من أمراض غير معدية، وحالات مزمنة تتطلب رعاية مدى الحياة، مثل مرض السكري، وارتفاع ضغط الدم، والسرطان.

الحياة الصحية هي عبارة عن عدة مراحل تبدأ بمرحلة الطفولة ةتنتهي مرحلة الشيخوخة، وكل منها فريد وله احتياجات خاصة، ولذلك يتخذ برنامجنا "نهجا لدورة الحياة" لتقديم مجموعة من الخدمات الصحية الوقائية والعلاجية.


من أجل تلبية احتياجات اللاجئيين الفلسطينيين المتغيرة، بدأنا مبادرة إصلاح كبيرة عام 2011، قدمنا نهج فريق الصحة الأسرية، والذي بستند إلى قيم الرعاية الصحية الأولية التي وضعتها منظمة الصحة العالمية(داخل منشأتنا الصحية الاولية).


توفر المنشأت الصحية الأولية خدمات الرعاية الصحية الأولية الشاملة القائمة على الرعاية الكاملة للأسرة بأسرها،والتركيز على العلاقات الطويلة الأجل بين مقدمي الخدمات والمرضى وضمان التركيز على الأفراد، والشمولية والاستمرارية.

إضافة إلى ذلك تساهم تلك المنشأت في معالجة المسائل المتصلة بالصحة وتؤثر، مثل النظام الغذائي والنشاط البدني، والتعليم والعنف القائم على نوع الجنس، وحماية الطفل، والفقر، والتنمية المجتمعية.

وتتضمن تلك الخدمات الصحية والعناية بالمرضى خارج المشفى، وعلاج الأسنان، وإعادة تأهيل المعوقين بدنيًا. تعتبر رعاية صحة الأم والطفل من أولويات برنامج الأونروا الصحي. وتقوم فرق الصحة المدرسية والمسؤولون الطبيون في المخيمات بزيارة مدارس الأونروا لفحص التلاميذ الجدد والمساعدة في الكشف المبكر عن أمراض الأطفال. توفر جميع عيادات الأونروا خدمات تنظيم الأسرة مع تقديم المشورة التي تركز على أهمية المباعدة بين الولادات كعامل مؤثر في صحة الأم والطفل. كما تشرف عيادات الوكالة على تقديم المعونة الغذائية إلى الأمهات المرضعات والحوامل اللاتي يحتجن إليها، توجد ست عيادات غي قطاع غزة تضم كل واحدة منهم وحدة خاصة بالأمومة. وكانت معدلات وفيات الرضع أقل منذ فترة بين اللاجئين من معدلات منظمة الصحة العالمية الخاصة بالدول النامية.

وتزود اللاجئين بالمساعدة في تغطية تكاليف دخول المستشفيات، عن طريق تسديد تكاليفها أو عن طريق التفاوض على عقود مع الحكومات والمنظمات الغير هادفة للربح والمستشفيات الخاصة.

يراقب برنامج خدمات الصحة البيئية التابع للأونروا "جودة المياه وتوفر المرافق الصحية ، وتكافح ناقلات الأمراض والقوارض في مخيمات اللاجئين للحد من مخاطر انئار الأوبئة."

التمويل متناهي الصغر

يسعى قسم التمويل متناهي الصغر في الأونروا إلى تخفيف حدة الفقر ودعم التنمية الاقتصادية في مجتمع اللاجئين عن طريق توفير الاستثمار الرأسمالي وقروض رأس المال المتداول بأسعار تجارية. ويسعى البرنامج إلى أن يكون أقرب ما يكون إلى الدعم الذاتي، ولديها سجل حافل بتوفير فرص العمل، وتوليد الدخل، وتمكين اللاجئين.

يعتبر قسم التمويل متناهي الصغر وحدة مالية مستقلة داخل الوكالة وتم تأسيسه عام 1991 لقديم خدمات التمويلة متناهية الصغر إلى اللاجئين الفلسطينين، وكذلك الفئات الفقيرة أو الهامشية التي تعيش وتعمل على مقربة منها. ومن خلال تواجده في ثلاث دول، يتمتع قسم التمويل متناهي الصغر بأوسع تغطية إقليمية يمكن أن تتمتع بها أي مؤسسة تقوم بالتمويل متناهي الصغر في الشرق الأوسط. مازال هذا القسم، الذي بدأ أنشطته داخل الأراضي الفلسطينية، أكبر وسيط مالي غير مصرفي في الضفة الغربية وغزة.

أرقام بارزة في 2014:

  • 324,994 قرض ممنوح
  • 368.1 مليون دولار قيمة القروض الممنوحة
  • 33% من أجل برامج الشباب
  • 38% من أجل برامج النساء

عمليات الطواريء

تقوم وكالة الأمم المتحدة لإغاثة وتشغيل اللاجئين الفلسطينين بمجموعة متنوعة من الأنشطة للتخفيف من آثار حالات الطوارئ على حياة اللاجئين الفلسطينيين.

خاصة في الضفة الغربية وقطاع غزة (الراضي المحتلة)وكان هناك تدخل مستمر ضروري من قبل ، على سبيل المثال ، حرب 1967، والانتفاضتين الأولى والثانية، والحرب على قطاع غزة عام 2014.

إلى هذه اللحظة، مازال مشروع إعادة بناء مخيم النهر البارد لللاجئين الفلسطينين في لبنان أكبر مشاريع إعادة البناء التي قامت بها الوكالة، وبدأ العمله فيه غام 2009 وكان من الضروري إعادة إنشاءه بعد أن دمر المخيم بعد النزاع بين الجيش اللبناني وفتح الإسلام عام 2007.

وترى الأونروا الصراع الدائر في سوريا على أنه أحد أخطر التحديات التي تواجها، فتدعم الوكالة اللاجئين الفلسطينين سواء الذين تم تهجيرهم داخل سوريا أو أولائك الذي نزحوا إلى دول مجاورة داخل نطاق عمل الأونروا.

وتتنوع الخدمات المقدمة ما بين توفير ملاجئ مؤقتة، ومياه وغذاء وملابس وبطاطين وخلق فرص عمل مؤقتة والمساعدة على إعادة البناء. هناك أيضًا تعاون مع منظمات دولية غير حكومية وممثلين محليين.

تحسين أوضاع المخيمات/البنية التحتية

يعيش حوالٍ ثلث اللاجئين المسجلين داخل الوكالة والبالغ عددهم 5 مليون لاجئ في مخيمات معروفة في الأردن وسوريا ولبنان والضفة الغربية وقطاع غزة. حتى الآن شاركات الأونروا في إعادة لبناء 5,223 منزل في النهر البارد شمال لبنان وقد شرعت في وضع خطة للإنعاش وإعادة الإعمار في غزة، تتضمن إعادة إعمار العيادات الطبية، والمدارس ووحدات الإسكان. وتقوم كل من السعودية واليابان وهولندا والإمارات بتقديم تمويل خاص.

التقييم والتكريم

أثنى العديد من الفائزين بجائزة نوبل للسلام مثل ماريد كوريگان على الأونروا[62] وكذلك كوفي عنان،[63] ورئيس الجمعية العامة للأمم المتحدة،[64] والأمين العام السابق للأمم المتحدة بان كي مون،[65] والعديد من ممثلي الإتحاد الأوروبي،[66] والولايات المتحدة،[67] وهولندا،[68] واليابان،[69] وبنگلادش،[70] وقبرص،[71] والأردن،[72] وغانا والنرويج والعديد من الدول الأخرى. في 2007، وصف الممثل الدائم للنرويج في الأمم المتحدة بلده بأنه "داعم قوي" للأونروا، والتي تعتبر بمثابة "شبكة آمنة" لللاجئين الفلسطينيين، حيث تمدهم "بالغوث العاجل، والخدمات الأساسية وفرص الحياة الكريمة".[73] في نفس اليوم اثنى ممثل آيسلندا قدرة الوكالة على "تحقيق نتائج كبيرة" على الرغم من "الظروف الخطيرة في كثير من الأحيان".

في 2007، عبرت إسرائيل عن استمرار دعمها للأونروا، وإذ تلاحظ أنه على الرغم من "الشواغل المتعلقة بتسييس" الوكالة، فأن البلاد تدعم تدورها الإنساني.[74]

التقييمات المستقلة

في 2011، وافقت الوكالة على أن تقوم شبكة الأطراف المتعددة لتقييم أداء المنضمات، وهي شبكة تتكون من مجموعة دول متبرعة لتحديد الفعالية التنظيمية للمنظمات المتعددة الأطراف.[75] بناء على أربعة أبعاد للفعالية التنظيمية للإدارة الاستراتيجية، وإدارة العمليات ، وإدارة العلاقات ، وإدارة المعارف-وتبين لشبكة الأطراف المتعددة أن الوكالة تقوم بأداء كافيًا أو تؤدي بشكل جيد في معظم المؤشرات وخاصة في الإدارة الاستراتيجية.[76] وردت الأونروا على النتائج الإيجابية قائلة، وإذ يلاحظ أن "العديد من التحديات التي أبرزها التقرير تعكس معظم إن لم يكن جميع التحديات الموجودة داخل جميع المنظمات متعددة الأطراف."[77] وفي أخر تقييم صدر عن شبكة تقييم أداء المنظمات متعددة الأطراف عام 2019، وصفت الوكالة بانها قوة مرنة وحازمة".[78]

نقد وجدل

أُتهمت الأونروا بتوظيف عسكريين، لتكريس الاعتماد الفلسطيني، وإضفاء طابع شيطاني على إسرائيل، جمع أموال من الحكومات الغربية لملئ جيوب السلطة الفلسطينية وشراء الأسلحة للإرهابيين.[79][80] In 2004, Emanuel Marx and Nitza Nachmias pointed out that many criticisms of the agency corresponded to its age, "including symptoms of inflexibility, resistance to adjust to the changing political environment, and refusal to phase out and transfer its responsibilities to the Palestinian Authority.[81]

In 2007, UNRWA initiated a reform program to improve efficiency.[82] However, an internal ethics report leaked to Al Jazeera in 2019 alleged that, since 2015, the agency's senior management have consolidated power at the expense of efficiency, leading to widespread misconduct, nepotism, and other abuses of power among high ranking personnel.[83] Responding to the Al Jazeera report, UNRWA issued a statement that both internal and external assessments of its management have been "positive":

A recent report by an external group of experts (MOPAN) has just shown satisfactory (and at times very satisfactory) results of UNRWA's management and impact - which is particularly important for us during these times of intense political and financial pressure on the agency ... Similarly, the United Nations Board of Auditors recognized the quality of the management and leadership of UNRWA. Finally, the 2018 annual report recently presented by UNRWA's Department of Internal Oversight Services and Ethics Division - both independent bodies - to UNRWA's Advisory Commission (host countries and largest donors) confirmed these positive assessments. These reports testify to the strength of this Agency and are a matter of public record.[83]


. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

جدل متعلق بالاختصاص

التفويض ذاته - بما في ذلك تعريف اللاجئي

The UNRWA definition is meant solely to determine eligibility for UNRWA assistance. However, some argue it serves to perpetuate the conflict.[84][85][86][87][88] Under General Assembly Resolution 194 (III), of 11 December 1948, other persons may be eligible for repatriation and/or compensation, but are not necessarily eligible for relief under the UNRWA's working definition.

خلق التبعية بدلاً من إعادة توطين اللاجئين

Although UNRWA's Mandate is only Relief and Works,[89] the Wall Street Journal Europe edition, published an op-ed by Asaf Romirowsky and Alexander H. Joffe in April 2011 saying that despite UNRWA's "purported goal, it is hard to claim that the UNRWA has created any Palestinian institutions that foster genuinely civil society. Ideally, the UNRWA would be disbanded and Palestinians given the freedom – and the responsibility – to build their own society."[90]

The High Commission is mandated to help refugees get on with their lives as quickly as possible and works to settle them rapidly, most frequently in countries other than those they fled. UNRWA policy, however, states that the Palestinian Arabs who fled from Israel in the course of the 1948 war, plus all their descendants, are to be considered refugees until a just and durable solution can be found by political actors. UNRWA was specifically designed not to prescribe how the outcome of an agreement would take shape.[91]

James G. Lindsay, a former UNRWA general counsel and fellow researcher for Washington Institute for Near East Policy published a report for WINEP in 2009 in which he criticized UNRWA practices.[92] One of his conclusions was that UNRWA's failure to match UNHCR's success in resettling refugees "obviously represents a political decision on the part of the agency" and "seems to favor the strain of Palestinian political thought espoused by those who are intent on a 'return' to the land that is now Israel". However, UNRWA has never been given a mandate by the UN General Assembly to resettle refugees.

In 2010 John Ging, head of UNRWA Gaza had stated that he was disappointed in Linday's criticisms of UNRWA for failure to resettle refugees. Ging argued that there is "no basis to say that it is UNRWA's decision because our mandate is given to us. I agree that it is a political failure, but we don't set up the mandate, we are only the implementers".[93]

In 2006, the UNRWA drew criticism from the US Congressmen Mark Kirk and Steven Rothman. Their letter, sent to the US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, stated in part: "After an exhaustive review of the UN's own audit, it is clear UNRWA is wrought by mismanagement, ineffective policies, and failure to secure its finances. We must upgrade UNRWA's financial controls, management, and enforcement of US law that bars any taxpayer dollars from supporting terrorists."[94] UNRWA responded by showing the results of its school students in Syria and Jordan, who outperform their peers in host-government schools. UNRWA also mentioned the difficult conditions in which it operates: its refugee load increased much faster than its budget, while the tightening of the closure regime since the Second Intifada deeply affected the humanitarian situation in the former Israeli-occupied territories.[95]

Senator Kit Bond (R-MO) said that UNRWA is an example of anti-Israel bias, and that Palestine refugees should be treated the same as all others with refugee status around the world.[96]

In 2011, UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness wrote

Palestinian refugees continue to be refugees because the issues which caused their exile remain outstanding. Only by addressing in a just and durable fashion the underlying causes of conflict – and by doing so in accordance with international law and the rights of refugees – can the refugee issue be laid to rest. This is the responsibility of the parties and international political actors. It is wishful, cynical thinking to suppose that Palestinian refugees can be made to "go away" by dispersing them around the globe or by dissolving the Agency established to protect and assist them pending a just and lasting solution to their plight.
source: Huffington Post[97]

In 2014, Bassem Eid, director of the Palestinian Human Rights Monitoring Group, accused UNRWA of perpetuating the refugee status of Palestinians, claiming that it "depends on death and the visual suffering of five million Palestinians" to justify its existence against the "best interests of the Palestinian refugees.'[98] However, Eid's article was criticized for widespread inaccuracies and its almost verbatim paraphrasing of a "perennial anti-UNRWA" critic associated with Arutz Sheva, an Israeli media network considered to be right-wing and pro-Zionist.[99]

In a statement in the Jerusalem Post, UNRWA rejected claims that it supports extremism and is anti-Israel, defending its record of improving efficiency and neutrality.[100]

الخلافات المتعلقة بالتنفيذ

حماية اللاجئين الفلسطينيين

Asem Khalil, Associate Professor of Law at Birzeit University, and Dean of the Faculty of Law and Public Administration, has focused on human rights issues for Palestinians in host countries.[101][102] After systematically documenting the human rights situation for Palestinians in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria, he concludes:

The point this approach is stresses, I believe, is not that UNRWA is not necessary or that Palestinian refugeehood is not unique and special, but rather that UNRWA is not currently capable of ensuring necessary protection for Palestinian refugees, and that host Arab states cannot use the uniqueness of Palestinian refugeehood to continue upholding discriminatory laws and policies towards Palestinian refugees. ...

The global financial crisis may result in decreasing international funds to UNRWA, and UNRWA may be pushed towards reducing its services. Such a scenario will be felt by Palestinian refugees in particular ways, seeing the absence of alternative sources of income and the restrictive laws and policies that exist in some host countries. UNRWA is a main service provider for Palestinian refugees in host countries. It provides jobs for thousands of refugees, education, health care, and various other services that are extremely valuable and necessary.

... The issue at stake here is that UNRWA is not enough, but the alternative is not the replacement of UNRWA by UNHCR, rather the enhancement of the protection role of UNRWA, or the extension of protection mandate of UNHCR to Palestinian refugees besides (not instead) existing agencies dealing with Palestinian refugees ...[102]

Textbook controversy

In 2005 Nathan Brown, Professor of Political Science at George Washington University, wrote a short but comprehensive review article about textbooks used by Palestinians, focusing especially on changes starting in 1994.

The Oslo agreements resulted in the dismantling of the Israeli office responsible for censorship of textbooks. Administration of the education system for all Palestinian students in the West Bank and Gaza was taken over by the Palestinian Authority (PA). Other Palestinian schools administered by UNRWA in neighboring countries were unaffected. With the end of UNESCO monitoring of the books, UNRWA moved to develop supplementary materials to teach tolerance in the schools it administered.[103]

It is the PA textbooks used in UNRWA schools in the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem that have been most extensively studied. The following discussions cannot be generalized to UNRWA schools elsewhere.

In the beginning, the PA used books from Jordan and Egypt. In 2000 it started issuing its own books. Nathan Brown investigated the differences between the new PA books and the ones being replaced[104]

Regarding the Palestinian Authority's new textbooks, he states:

The new books have removed the anti-Semitism present in the older books while they tell history from a Palestinian point of view, they do not seek to erase Israel, delegitimize, it or replace it with the "State of Palestine"; each book contains a foreword describing the West Bank and Gaza as "the two parts of the homeland"; the maps show some awkwardness but do sometimes indicate the 1967 line and take some other measures to avoid indicating borders; in this respect they are actually more forthcoming than Israeli maps; the books avoid treating Israel at length but do indeed mention it by name; the new books must be seen as a tremendous improvement from a Jewish, Israeli, and humanitarian view; they do not compare unfavorably to the material my son was given as a fourth-grade student in a school in Tel Aviv".

Brown has pointed out that research into Palestinian textbooks conducted by the Centre for Monitoring the Impact of Peace in 1998 is misleading because it evaluates the old books; and in 2000, its research mixed old and new books.[104]

In 2002, the United States Congress requested the United States Department of State to commission a reputable NGO to conduct a review of the new Palestinian curriculum. The Israel/Palestine Center for Research and Information (IPCRI) was thereby commissioned by the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv and the US Consul General in Jerusalem to review the Palestinian Authority's textbooks. Its report was completed in March 2003 and delivered to the State Department for submission to Congress. Its executive summary states: "The overall orientation of the curriculum is peaceful despite the harsh and violent realities on the ground. It does not openly incite against Israel and the Jews. It does not openly incite hatred and violence. Religious and political tolerance is emphasized in a good number of textbooks and in multiple contexts."

IPCRI's June 2004 follow-up report notes that "except for calls for resisting occupation and oppression, no signs were detected of outright promotion of hatred towards Israel, Judaism, or Zionism" and that "tolerance, as a concept, runs across the new textbooks". The report also stated that "textbooks revealed numerous instances that introduce and promote the universal and religious values and concepts of respect of other cultures, religions, and ethnic groups, peace, human rights, freedom of speech, justice, compassion, diversity, plurality, tolerance, respect of law, and environmental awareness".

However, the IPCRI noted a number of deficiencies in the curriculum.

The practice of 'appropriating' sites, areas, localities, geographic regions, etc. inside the territory of the State of Israel as Palestine/Palestinian observed in our previous review, remains a feature of the newly published textbooks (4th and 9th Grade) laying substantive grounds to the contention that the Palestinian Authority did not in fact recognize Israel as the State of the Jewish people. ...

The Summary also states that the curriculum asserts a historical Arab presence in the region, while

The Jewish connection to the region, in general, and the Holy Land, in particular, is virtually missing. This lack of reference is perceived as tantamount to a denial of such a connection, although no direct evidence is found for such a denial." It also notes that "terms and passages used to describe some historical events are sometimes offensive in nature and could be construed as reflecting hatred of and discrimination against Jews and Judaism."[105]

The US State Department has similarly raised concerns about the content of textbooks used in PA schools. In its 2009 Human Rights report, the U.S. State Department wrote that after a 2006 revision of textbooks by the PA Ministry of Education and Higher Education, international academics concluded that books did not incite violence against Jews but showed imbalance, bias, and inaccuracy. The examples given were similar to those given by IPCRI.[106]

The Centre for Monitoring the Impact of Peace was re-constituted as The Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-SE) and seems to have improved the quality of its work. It has published a number of evaluations of PA textbooks[107] The latest evaluation from 2011[108] concludes that the situation had not significantly improved, and that there were in fact many examples of incitement to hatred and demonization of Israel – conclusions not widely shared by other experts.

In 2013 the results of a rigorous study, which also compared Israeli textbooks to PA textbooks, came out. The study was launched by the Council for Religious Institutions in the Holy Land, an interfaith association of Jewish, Christian, and Muslim leaders in Israel and the Occupied Territories. The study was overseen by an international Scientific Advisory Panel and funded by the United States State Department[109] The Council published a report "Victims of Our Own Narratives? Portrayal of the 'Other' in Israeli and Palestinian School Books".[110]

Most books were found to be factually accurate except, for example, through presenting maps that present the area from the river to the sea as either Palestine or Israel. Israeli schoolbooks were deemed superior to Palestinian ones with regard to preparing children for peace, although various depictions of the "other" as enemy occurred in 75% of Israeli, and in 81% of Palestinian textbooks.[111]

The study praised both Israel and the Palestinian Authority for producing textbooks almost completely unblemished by "dehumanizing and demonizing characterizations of the other". Yet many troubling examples were given of both sides failing to represent each other in a positive or even adequate way. And the problem was more pronounced in PA textbooks.[112]

  • Neutral depictions of "the other" were found in 4% of Israeli, and 15% of Palestinian textbooks.
  • Overall negative or very negative representations of Palestinians occurred 49% of the time in Israeli state school books (73% in Haredi school books) and in 84% of Palestinian textbooks.[112]
  • Highly negative characterizations were discerned in 26% of Israeli state school books and 50% of the Palestinian ones.[110]

Harsh critics of PA textbooks give similar examples, but weight them more heavily than IPCRI, the U.S. State Department and The Council for Religious Institutions in the Holy Land do. In addition, the critics point to subtle examples not picked up by these studies.

Dr. Arnon Groiss is perhaps the strongest academic critic. He had in the past conducted an independent research of Palestinian, Egyptian, Syrian, Saudi Arabian, Tunisian, and Iranian schoolbooks between 2000 and 2010, and was thus appointed to be a member of the Scientific Advisory Panel for the study from The Council For Religious Institutions in the Holy Land. He criticized the study and its results for the following:[113]

  • selection of the Study Material: "highly demonizing pieces were not included, under the pretext that they were not explicit enough", "explicit denial…was not included too"
  • categorization methods: "real cases of ignoring the 'other' deliberately without degrading him slipped away from scrutiny", false positive descriptions
  • the quality and depth of the analysis: "There is no attempt to study the quotes more deeply and draw conclusions", "the report considers Jihad and martyrdom as values, which is acceptable academically, but it fails to evaluate their impact on the issues of war and peace".

Groiss concluded that "the main question, namely, to what extent is this or that party engaged in actual education for peace, if at all, has not been answered by the report itself."

All in all there seems to be broad agreement that there is continual improvement in the textbooks used by UNRWA—but very strong disagreement about whether the improvement is sufficient. In response to a critical report[92] written in 2009 by former UNRWA general counsel James G. Lindsay, fellow researcher for Washington Institute for Near East Policy John Ging, head of UNRWA Gaza, said: "As for our schools, we use textbooks of the Palestinian Authority. Are they perfect? No, they're not. I can't defend the indefensible."[93]

UNRWA has taken many steps since the year 2000 to supplement the PA curriculum with concepts of human rights, nonviolent conflict resolution, and tolerance. According to the UNRWA website:

"We have been delivering human rights education in our schools since 2000 to promote non-violence, healthy communication skills, peaceful conflict resolution, human rights, tolerance, and good citizenship. In May 2012, the Agency endorsed its new Human Rights, Conflict Resolution and Tolerance (HRCRT) Policy to further strengthen human rights education in UNRWA. This policy builds upon past successes, but also draws from international best practices and paves the way to better integrate human rights education in all our schools. The HRCRT Policy reflects the UNRWA mandate of quality education for Palestine refugees and sets out a common approach among all UNRWA schools for the teaching and learning of human rights, conflict resolution and tolerance. The vision of the policy is to "provide human rights education that empowers Palestine refugee students to enjoy and exercise their rights, uphold human rights values, be proud of their Palestinian identity, and contribute positively to their society and the global community.""[114]

Relationship with Hamas

In April 2013 Palestinian journalist, Hazem Balousha, summed up years of tension between UNRWA and Hamas

Agency in Gaza faces increasing difficulty in carrying out its work, as the Hamas-led government claims some of its activities are not in line with the Strip's Islamic culture and values ...[115]

According to The Guardian, Hamas has in some cases threatened UN staff in Gaza; the former UNRWA chief in Gaza, John Ging, has survived two assassination attempts.[116]

Peter Hansen, UNRWA's former Commissioner-General (1996–2005), caused controversy in Canada in October 2004 when he said in an interview with CBC TV:

Oh I am sure that there are Hamas members on the UNRWA payroll and I don't see that as a crime. Hamas as a political organization does not mean that every member is a militant and we do not do political vetting and exclude people from one persuasion as against another.
We demand of our staff, whatever their political persuasion is, that they behave in accordance with UN standards and norms for neutrality.[117][118]

Hansen later specified that he had been referring not to active Hamas members, but to Hamas sympathizers within UNRWA. In a letter to the Agency's major donors, he said he was attempting to be honest because UNRWA has over 8,200 employees in the Gaza Strip. Given the 30% support of Hamas in Gaza at the time, and UNRWA's workforce of 11,000 Palestinians, at least some Hamas sympathizers were likely to be among UNRWA's employees. The important thing, he wrote, was that UNRWA's strict rules and regulations ensured that its staff remained impartial UN servants. However, he was retired from United Nations service against his will on 31 March 2005.[119][120][121]

James G. Lindsay, a former UNRWA general counsel and fellow researcher for Washington Institute for Near East Policy published a report for WINEP in 2009 in which he criticized UNRWA practices.[92] One of his conclusions was that UNRWA is not ousting terrorists from its ranks:

UNRWA has taken very few steps to detect and eliminate terrorists from the ranks of its staff or its beneficiaries, and no steps at all to prevent members of organizations such as Hamas from joining its staff. UNRWA has no preemployment security checks and does not monitor off-time behavior to ensure compliance with the organization's anti-terror rules. No justification exists for millions of dollars in humanitarian aid going to those who can afford to pay for UNRWA services.[92][122]

In 2013 Lt. Col. (ret.) Jonathan Dahoah-Halevi, senior researcher of the Middle East and radical Islam at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs,[123] asserted that 'the UNRWA workers union has been controlled in practice by Hamas for many years'.[124][125]

According to The Jerusalem Post and Fox News Hamas won a teachers union election for UN schools in Gaza in 2009.[126][127] UNRWA has strongly denied this and notes that "Staff elections are conducted on an individual – not party list – basis for unions that handle normal labour relations – not political – issues."[128] In addition, John Ging, the Gaza head of operations, said in a letter dated 29 March 2009 that employees must not "be under the influence of any political party in the conduct of their work."[129]

It has also been claimed that in 2012, the Hamas "Professional List" again won a Staff Union election in UNRWA. The Professional List is led by alleged senior Hamas activist Suheil Al-Hind. More than 9,500 UNRWA employees in the Gaza Strip participated; this represented more than 80% turnout. The professional list won three UNRWA workers groups: the employees', teachers', and services' unions.[130][131][132]

المدارس

It has been reported that Hamas has interfered with curriculum and textbooks in UNRWA schools.[بحاجة لمصدر]

For example, in 2009 it caused UNRWA to suspend a decision to introduce Holocaust studies in its schools.[133]

One of UNRWA's flagships has been gender-equality and integration. But Hamas militants have firebombed UNRWA mixed-gender summer camps,[116] and in 2013 Hamas passed a law requiring gender segregation in schools for all pupils nine years of age and older in Gaza.[134] The law does not apply to UNRWA schools.

Elhanen Miller, the Arab affairs reporter for The Times of Israel, wrote in February 2014 that Hamas was "bashing" UNRWA's human rights curriculum, saying that it included too many examples and values foreign to Palestinian culture and had too much emphasis on peaceful resistance rather than armed resistance. In this case UNRWA refused to be swayed. Spokesman Chris Gunness:

UNRWA has no plans to change its education programs in Gaza ... human rights are taught in all UNRWA schools from grades 1 through 9, discussing the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

UNRWA's education system takes as its basis the curriculum taught by the PA and so we use PA textbooks in preparing children in Gaza for public examinations. ... In addition, we enrich our education programs in Gaza with an agreed human rights curriculum which has been developed with the communities we serve: with educationalists, parents groups, teachers associations, staff members and others. We have done our utmost in developing these materials to be sensitive to local values while also being true to the universal values that underpin the work of the United Nations.[135]

However, after a few days, UNRWA consented to temporarily suspending the use of only the books used in grades 7–9 (continuing to use the books used in grades 1–6) pending further discussions.[136]

Camps and sports

Hamas has denounced UNRWA and Ging, accusing them of using their summer camps to corrupt the morals of Palestinian youth. Hamas also advised UNRWA to reexamine its curriculum to ensure its suitability for Palestinian society, due to the mixing of genders at the camps.

In September 2011 it was reported that, under pressure from Hamas, UNRWA has made all its summer camps single-sex.[133]

Hamas has its own network of summer camps and the two organizations are regarded to be vying for influence with Gazan youth.[137] Islamic Jihad has also run summer camps since 2013.[138]

UNRWA did not operate its summer camps for summer 2012 and summer 2014 due to a lack of available funding. Hamas has filled this void and now is the direct provider of summer activities for about 100,000 children and youths.[139]

In 2013, UNRWA canceled its planned marathon in Gaza after Hamas rulers prohibited women from participating in the race.[140]

In 2013, Israeli media outlets aired a video documenting UNRWA-funded summer camps where children are being taught to engage in violence with Israelis. The video airs speakers telling campers "With God's help and our own strength we will wage war. And with education and Jihad we will return to our homes!" A student is also shown on camera describing that "the summer camp teaches us that we have to liberate Palestine."[38]

UNRWA denies that the video shows UNRWA summer camps and instead shows footage of camps that were not operated by UNRWA. Following the release of the film, UNRWA released a statement that read, in part:

UNRWA has conducted a lengthy and detailed investigation into the film and we categorically reject the allegations it contains. The film is grossly misleading and we regret the damage it has caused to UNRWA and the United Nations.

The film-maker concerned has a history of making baseless claims about UNRWA, all of which we have investigated and demonstrated to be patently false. It has long been the practice of the film-maker to show non-UNRWA activities and portray them as activities of UNRWA. He has done this again and we again reject his allegations. Our repeated rejection of his falsehoods is a matter of public record.

The main accusation in the film is that incitement is promoted during UNRWA 'summer camps'. The 'summer camp' shown in the West Bank was not affiliated with or organized by UNRWA. The only UNRWA summer activities actually depicted are those shot in Gaza. However, our investigation of the film has revealed that absolutely nothing anti-Semitic or inflammatory was done or said in the scenes filmed in Gaza.

In addition, those interviewed in the film are presented with captions that identify them as UNRWA staff members. However, only one of those interviewed is an UNRWA staff member. The comment she makes does not violate UNRWA's neutrality policy.

UNRWA is committed to fostering human rights and tolerance, and teaches these values through the curriculum in its schools. UNRWA is one of the few organizations that has implemented human rights and conflict resolution training for millions of Palestine refugee children in the complex political environment of the Middle East for over 12 years.[141]

UNRWA facilities being abused by Hamas militants

In 2003, Israel released to newspapers what the New York Times called a "damning intelligence report". Citing interrogations of suspected militants, the document claims that UNRWA operations being used as a cover for Palestinian terrorists, including smuggling arms in UN ambulances and hosting meetings of Tanzim in UN buildings.[142] UN officials responded, according to the NY Times, by saying that it is Israel that has "lost its objectivity and begun regarding anyone who extends a hand to a Palestinian as an enemy."[142]

The Israel Defense Forces released a video from May 2004, in which armed Palestinian militants carry an injured colleague into an UNRWA ambulance, before boarding with him. The ambulance driver requested that the armed men leave, but was threatened and told to drive to a hospital. UNRWA issued a plea[143] to all parties to respect the neutrality of its ambulances.

On 1 October 2004, Israel again lodged accusations against UNRWA. The video documentation was not convincing, and the Israeli military changed some of its earlier statements and conceded the possibility that the object could have indeed been a stretcher, but did not offer the apology Hansen had demanded.[144][145][146]

The Israeli Army circulates footage taken on 29 October 2007 showing three militants firing mortars from UNRWA boys' school in Beit Hanoun, Gaza. The militants were able to enter due to the fact that the school was evacuated at the time because of the war.[بحاجة لمصدر]

According to the former Israeli ambassador to the United Nations Dore Gold:[147]

Although education was one of the fields in which UNRWA was supposed to provide aid, the agency did nothing to alter Palestinian educational texts that glorified violence and continuing war against Israel.

This has been found to be false in several US State Department reports such as Brown and PICRI cited above.

On 4 February 2009, UNRWA halted aid shipments into the Gaza Strip after it accused Hamas of breaking into a UN warehouse and stealing tonnes of blankets and food which had been earmarked for needy families.[148][149] A few days later, the UN resumed aid after the missing supplies had been returned.[150]

On 5 August 2009, the IDF accused Hamas of stealing three ambulances that had just been transferred through Israel to the UNRWA. The UNRWA spokesman denied the claim.[151] A week later, Hamas confirmed it confiscated the ambulances due to bureaucratic reasons. A UNRWA spokesman also confirmed this but soon retracted this admission and denied the incident, even publicizing a photo it claimed was of one its officials with the ambulances.[152]

Al-Fakhura violence

On 7 January 2009, UNRWA officials alleged that the prior day, in the course of the Gaza War, the Israel Defense Forces shelled the area outside a UNRWA school in Jabalya, Gaza, killing more than forty people. The IDF initially claimed it was responding to an attack by Hamas gunman hiding in the compound, but upon reexamination, said that an "errant shell had hit the school." Maxwell Gaylord, the UN humanitarian coordinator, stated that the UN "would like to clarify that the shelling, and all of the fatalities, took place outside rather than inside the school."[153]

UNRWA has consistently rejected the allegation that militants used the Agency's installations during the Gaza war in 2008–2009.[154] These accusations have been published by some media outlets, although they are sometimes retracted. In 2012 when on two occasions, Israel Channel Two TV, the most popular network in Israel apologised and issued a retraction of these allegations.[155][156]

During the 2014 Israel–Gaza conflict, UNRWA spokesmen reported in July that weapons were found in three vacant UNRWA schools which had been closed for the summer.[157][158][159] UNRWA strongly condemned the activity as a "flagrant violation of the inviolability of its premises under international law" and UNRWA staff were withdrawn from the premises.[160] It appears, however, that UNRWA returned weapons to the local government – meaning Hamas.[161]

In July 2014, three Israeli soldiers died from a booby-trap in a clinic. Initially, it was reported to be an UNRWA clinic but the IDF shortly thereafter retracted the claim thought it was noted that it had an UNRWA sign on it. The UNRWA sign on the building, therefore, may have been stolen and placed there by someone, perhaps seeking to protect the building.[162]

Even though the claim of the booby-trapped UNRWA clinic proved to be false, it has been repeated on several occasions by vocal UNRWA opponents, including at an official hearing of the U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs on 9 September 2014. During the hearing, "Hamas' Benefactors: A Network of Terror," Jonathan Schanzer from the Foundation for Defense of Democracies told the Committee that UNRWA was "allowing for the building of tunnels, these commando tunnels, underneath their facilities in my opinion very much needs to be investigated."[163] It is unclear whether Schanzer knew he was misleading the Committee, though he also repeated the assertion at an event hosted by the Foundation for Defense of Democracies entitled "The Israeli–Palestinian Conflict" on 13 August 2014, where he stated there was "at least one booby-trapped tunnel under one of its facilities."[164]

Social media and incitement

According to UN Watch, at least ten different UNRWA employees used social media in October 2015 to incite Palestinian stabbing and shooting attacks against Israelis, with one calling on Facebook to "stab Zionist dogs."[165] UN secretary-general spokesperson said that more than 90 Facebook pages violating UNRWA social media rules were removed. Some of the posts were made by imposters or former UNRWA employees and some by current UNRWA staff.[166] In addition, an UNRWA spokesperson was quoted in The Forward as saying that staff members had been sanctioned, "including loss of pay" and that remaining allegations were "under assessment." He also noted that "In some cases, we have determined the alleged 'UNRWA staff' are not in fact UNRWA employees or are no longer UNRWA employees."[167]

Investigations and calls for accountability and reform

Many critics of UNRWA, while generally recognizing the importance of its work and the infeasibility of disbanding it, believe it requires more transparency, oversight, and support. Writing in the Middle East Monitor in April 2012, Karen Koning AbuZayd, a former Commissioner-General of the UNRWA (2005–2009), argued that "UNRWA needs support not brickbats".[168] She concluded that:

... even those who scrutinise [UNRWA] most closely and challenge it most severely are those who also ensure that its programmes receive adequate funding. They, like others who view the agency more positively, realise that UNRWA makes a major contribution to stability in the Middle East.

Writing in the Times of Israel on 31 July 2014,[169] David Horovits likewise observed that although Israel has many complaints against UNRWA, it is broadly supportive of the organization not interested in abolishing it. During the article's publication, the 2014 Gaza conflict had resulted in 225,000 displaced persons within Gaza, the vast majority of whom relied on UNRWA for immediate support. Horovitsalso noted that Israel acknowledges UNRWA's close monitoring by Hamas for any alleged pro-Israel bias.

2004 investigation by the United States Congress

The United States government financed a programme of "Operations Support Officers", part of whose job was to make random and unannounced inspections of UNRWA facilities to ensure their sanctity from militant operations. In 2004 the U.S. Congress asked the General Accounting Office to investigate media claims that government funding given to UNRWA had been used to support individuals involved in militant activities. During its investigation, the GAO discovered several irregularities in its processing and employment history.[170]

James G. Lindsay

On the basis of his 2009 analyses for WINEP, referred to in previous sections, former UNRWA general-counsel James G. Lindsay and fellow researcher for Washington Institute for Near East Policy[92] made the following suggestions for improvement:

UNRWA should make the following operational changes: halt its one-sided political statements and limit itself to comments on humanitarian issues; take additional steps to ensure the agency is not employing or providing benefits to terrorists and criminals; and allow the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), or some other neutral entity, to provide balanced and discrimination-free textbooks for UNRWA schools.[92]

Andrew Whitley, director of the UNRWA representative office at UN headquarters in New York, said: "The agency is disappointed by the findings of the study, found it to be tendentious and partial, and regrets in particular the narrow range of sources used".[171]

UNRWA's Jerusalem spokesone Chris Gunness stated that UNRWA rejects Lindsay's report and its findings and claimed that the study was inaccurate and misleading, since it "makes selective use of source material and fails to paint a truthful portrait of UNRWA and its operations today".[172]

In response to the criticism of his report from UNRWA, Lindsay writes:

Despite repeated requests from the author, the agency declined to identify the alleged weaknesses on the grounds that "our views—and understanding—of UNRWA's role, the refugees and even U.S. policy are too far apart for us to take time (time that we do not have) to enter into an exchange with little likelihood of influencing a narrative which so substantially differs from our own." Thus, the paper has not benefited from any input by UNRWA, whether a discussion of policy or even correction of alleged errors.[173]

Canadian redirection of funds from UNRWA to specific PA projects

In January 2010, the Government of Canada announced that it was redirecting aid previously earmarked to UNRWA "to specific projects in the Palestinian Authority that will ensure accountability and foster democracy in the PA." Victor Toews, the president of Canada's Treasury Board, stated, "Overall, Canada is not reducing the amount of money given to the PA, but it is now being redirected in accordance with Canadian values. This will ensure accountability and foster democracy in the PA." Previously, Canada provided UNRWA with 11 percent of its budget at $10 million (Canadian) annually.[174][175] The decision came despite positive internal evaluations of the Agency by CIDA officials.[176] The Canadian decision put it very much at odds with the US and EU, which maintained or increased their levels of funding. Some suggested that the decision also cost Canada international support in its failed October 2010 effort to obtain a seat on the UN Security Council.[177]

Documents obtained from the Canadian International Development Agency revealed that even the government of Israel opposed the Canadian move, and had asked Ottawa to resume contributions to UNRWA's General Fund.[178]

UNRWA Reform Initiative

An initiative to reform UNRWA was announced by the Center for Near East Policy Research in March 2014.[179]

The Center carries out research and (through its "Israel Resource News Agency") investigative journalism and research in cooperation with a wide variety of organisations and researchers, such as The Middle East Forum, which has published an entire issue of Middle East Quarterly discussing the challenges facing UNRWA.[180]

The main thrust of the UNRWA Reform Initiative is to present documentation of problems with UNRWA to sponsor nations and organisations with the aim of increasing sponsor demands for accountability. UNRWA has stated on multiple occasions that the head of this initiative, David Bedein, fabricates the information he publishes.[181][182][183][184]

2014 call for U.S. investigation

In August 2014, several U.S. Senators demanded an impartial investigation into UNRWA's alleged participation in the 2014 Gaza-Israel conflict, accusing UNRWA of being complicit with Hamas.[185]

... While the letter does not call on the State Department to cut aid, the senators write that the American taxpayers "deserve to know if UNRWA is fulfilling its mission or taking sides in this tragic conflict."

... Responding to the letter, a State Department spokesman said that the UN is taking "proactive steps to address this problem," including deploying munitions experts to the strip in search of more weapons caches. "The international community cannot accept a situation where the United Nations– its facilities, staff, and those it is protecting — are used as shields for militants and terrorist groups," State Department spokesone Edgar Vasquez told The Jerusalem Post. "We remain in intensive consultations with UN leadership about the UN's response." ...

"There are few good solutions given the exceptionally difficult situation in Gaza," Vasquez continued, "but nonetheless we are in contact with the United Nations, other UNRWA donors, and concerned parties – including Israel – on identifying better options for protecting the neutrality of UN facilities and ensuring that weapons discovered are handled appropriately and do not find their way back to Hamas or other terrorist groups."[186]

U.S. ends funding 2018

Citing a "failure to mobilize adequate and appropriate burden sharing," the Trump administration stopped funding UNRWA, calling its fundamental business model and fiscal practices "simply unsustainable."[187] Secretary Pompeo maintained that "most Palestinians under UNRWA’s jurisdiction aren’t refugees, and UNRWA is a hurdle to peace."[188]

Relations with Israel

After Israel captured the West Bank and Gaza in the June 1967 Six-Day War, it requested that the UNRWA continue its operations there, which it would facilitate.[189] Since then the relationship has been characterized as "an uneasy marriage of convenience between two unlikely bedfellows that have helped perpetuate the problem both have allegedly sought to resolve."[189]

Immediately following the Six-Day War, on 14 June UNRWA Commissioner-General Dr. Lawrence Michelmore and Political Advisor to the Israeli Foreign Minister Michael Comay exchanged letters that has since served as much of the basis for the relationship between Israel and UNRWA.[190] Commonly referred to the Comay-Michelmore Exchange of Letters,[191][192] the initial letter from Michelmore reiterates a verbal conversation between the two, stating that:

at the request of the Israel Government, UNRWA would continue its assistance to the Palestine refugees, with the full co-operation of the Israel authorities, in the West Bank and Gaza Strip areas. For its part, the Israel Government will facilitate the task of UNRWA to the best of its ability, subject only to regulations or arrangements which may be necessitated by considerations of military security.[190]

In his responding letter, Comay wrote:

I agree that your letter and this reply constitute a provisional agreement between UNRWA and the Government of Israel, to remain in force until replaced or cancelled.[190]

UNRWA has been criticised by the Israeli government and politicians for alleged involvement with Palestinian militant groups, such as Hamas. Israel has stated that Peter Hansen, UNRWA's former Commissioner-General (1996–2005) "consistently adopted a trenchant anti-Israel line" which resulted in biased and exaggerated reports against Israel.

UNRWA building shelled by Israeli army, 15 January 2009

UNRWA has also lodged complaints, for example:

Al-Aqsa Intifada 2000 – allegations of Israeli interference with UNRWA operations

During the Al-Aqsa Intifada, which started in late 2000, UNRWA often complained that Israeli road closures, curfews and checkpoints in the West Bank and Gaza have interfered with its ability to carry out its humanitarian mandate. The Agency has also complained that large-scale house demolitions in the Gaza Strip have leftover 30,000 people homeless. Israel justifies the demolitions as anti-terror measures.[193]

November 2002 allegation that an Israeli sniper killed UNRWA employee

In November 2002 Iain Hook, a British employee of UNRWA, was shot and killed by an IDF sniper while working in the Jenin refugee camp, during an operation to locate a Palestinian militant suspected of masterminding a suicide bombing that killed 14 people earlier in 2002. Peter Hansen, head of UNRWA at the time criticized the killing: "Israeli snipers had sights. They would have known who the two internationals (non-Palestinians) were. They did not dress like Palestinians."[194]

Death of UNRWA Staff Member in Kalandia Refugee Camp

In August 2013, UNRWA released a statement that accused Israel of killing one of its staff members and injuring another in the Kalandia refugee camp during a raid. According to the release from 26 August 2013, "UNRWA deeply regrets to confirm that one of its staff members, a 34-year-old father of four, was shot dead by Israeli forces and killed instantly in an operation in Kalandia refugee camp in the West Bank at approximately seven o'clock this morning. Credible reports say that he was on his way to work and was not engaged in any violent activity. He was shot in the chest. Another UNRWA staff member, a sanitation laborer, was shot in the leg during the same operation and is in a stable condition."[195]

2014 Israel–Gaza conflict

During the 2014 Israel–Gaza conflict, there were many accusations by Israel and many rebuttals by UNRWA. For example, Israel's Channel 2 claimed in a report that an UNRWA ambulance was used to transport militants. It later retracted that claim, after being confronted with "incontrovertible evidence", in the words of UNRWA.[196]

Israel damaged or destroyed a number of UNRWA facilities claiming that they were used for war purposes and thus legitimate targets. According to a UN report, Israel struck seven Gaza shelters, which led to at least 44 Palestinians killed and at least 227 injured.[197] It also said Palestinian groups stored weapons in three schools[198][199][200][201] and likely fired rockets from two of them.[197] UN Sec Gen Ban Ki Moon condemned the use of shelters as a weapons depot.[202]

UNRWA schools and personnel were in the line of fire during the war, even as 290,000 people were staying in UNRWA schools being used as shelters.

During one of the many ceasefires in the war, UNRWA announced nine UNRWA staff members were killed in Israeli shelling of shelters.[203]

2017 Calls for dismantlement, following tunnel under schools

In June 2017, UNRWA employees discovered a tunnel running underneath the Maghazi Elementary Boys A&B School and the Maghazi Preparatory Boys School. According to UNRWA's spokesperson, the tunnel had no entry points in the school premise, but runs underneath the school. UNRWA stated it intended to seal the tunnel, and that is protested to Hamas. Hamas denied it was involved, and requested clarifications from other armed factions that denied involvement as well.[204][205][206]

Following the tunnel discovery, Israel's prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has stated that UNRWA should be dismantled and reincorporated in other UN agencies. In response UNRWA's spokesperson said only the United Nations General Assembly could change UNRWA's mandate, and further stated in Hebrew on Israeli radio that if "UNRWA is gone" from Gaza that "two million people will turn into IS (Islamic State) supporters".[207][208]

The peace initiative between Israel and Palestine promoted by the Trump Administration, and overseen by the President's nephew Jared Kushner, advocates the winding down of UNRWA through a campaign to disrupt it, and aims to strip Palestinians of their refugee status, according to emails leaked to Foreign Policy magazine. According to Kushner UNRWA "perpetuates a status quo, is corrupt, inefficient and doesn’t help peace". Monies to UNRWA would be rechanneled to Arab countries in the area in the expectation that they would eventually absorb the Palestinian refugees resident in their states. Both Kushner and Nikki Haley propose a cut off of U.S. funding for the organization, a proposal opposed by the State Department, the Pentagon, and the U.S. intelligence community, on the grounds that any such move would only fuel violence in the Middle East.[209]

2020 alleged undermining of UNRWA by Israel and the U.S.

In January 2020, UNRWA said that in East Jerusalem, Israel was building schools and institutions "to compete" with UNRWA and stop it from operating there.[210] The same statement had initially alleged that Israel and the United States were "advocating against funding UNRWA in the European parliaments and elsewhere," later clarifying it was referring to pro-Israel groups. The agency also reaffirmed that its mandate includes East Jerusalem.[210]

See also

Notes

References

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Bibliography

External links

قالب:UN International Years