Israel seeks alternative to UNRWA in Gaza

By Osama al-Ghassani

JERUSALEM (AA) – Israeli defense officials have suggested establishing an alternative for UN agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, to head off a humanitarian crisis in the blockaded Gaza Strip, according to Israeli Haaretz newspaper on Sunday.

On August 31, Washington ended all of its funding for UNRWA as part of a broader policy by the U.S. administration to cut aid to the Palestinians.

The U.S. was — by far — UNRWA's largest contributor, providing it with $350 million annually — roughly one quarter of the agency's overall budget.

By the end of September, donor countries for Gaza will hold a meeting in New York.

According to Haaretz, an Israeli delegation to the meeting will ask donors to guarantee the continued delivery of food, operation of UNRWA’s schools and paying their salaries.

Established in 1949, UNRWA provides critical aid to Palestinian refugees in the blockaded Gaza Strip, the Israeli-occupied West Bank, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria.