US lobbies others for UNRWA funds while cutting own donations

A US official tried to convince Turkey to provide more funds after Washington froze its donations following Israeli claims that Unwra staff were involved in the 7 October attack

By Ragip Soylu | Middle East Eye | 4 March 2024

A man carries aid distributed by Unwra in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on 3 March (AFP)

The US encouraged Turkey to provide additional donations to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (Unrwa) during high-level diplomatic talks earlier this year, despite pausing its funding to the organisation.

US Deputy Secretary of State Victoria Nuland told Turkish officials in late January that even though Washington had decided to freeze its funding to Unrwa, Ankara and Gulf nations should fill the gap, Turkish sources familiar with the talks told Middle East Eye.

Nine countries led by the US froze their funding to Unwra in January amid unproven allegations that some of its workers had participated in the 7 October attack on Israel.

The US alone provides just over $345m to the agency, which pays for humanitarian aid to the 2.3 million people in Gaza, as well as millions of others in the Palestinian territories.

Unrwa is facing allegations that 12 of its 13,000 staff in Gaza were involved in the attacks against Israel.

A draft bill in the US Congress is currently trying to permanently ban US funding to the agency.

Even though Turkey had previously provided an additional $1m to the agency before the US funding cut, it has not subsequently provided more funds to fill the gap. Turkey normally contributes $10m annually to Unrwa.

Gulf countries have also not increased their contribution.

Plugging the shortfall

Countries like Spain and Portugal have increased their contributions to the agency by a few million euros to help make up for the shortfall.

MEE reached out to both the US Embassy in Ankara and the State Department for comment, but no response was offered by the time of publication.

One Turkish official said Ankara would prefer to focus on more effective humanitarian aid – including food to Unrwa – instead of increasing the monetary donations.

Egypt, Qatar, and the United States have been pushing for a ceasefire to end the five-month-old war on Gaza, with the latest proposals calling for a six-week halt to fighting and a prisoner swap.

Chris Gunness, a former chief spokesperson for Unrwa, said that any Ramadan ceasefire has to include expanded Unrwa operations, as half a million people in Gaza are starving.

“The only organisation that is capable of delivering aid to over two million people is Unrwa,” he said.

“Unrwa has 13,000 staff. It has trucks, it has warehouses, it has food distribution centres. Funding that fills the $500m [gap] has to be met immediately.”

He further described the current pause on funding to the agency as a “slow-motion massacre”.

Gunness said the Biden administration is under “disgraceful” pressure by both wings of the US Congress to permanently ban funding to Unrwa, which has forced Washington to search for funds through its allies.

In another development, the European Commission on Friday announced that it would unfreeze its aid to Unrwa and increase its funding by an additional 68m euros ($73.8m), bringing its total aid to Unrwa for 2024 to 15om euros ($162.8m).

The commission said the first 50m euros of aid would be delivered this week and the remainder will come in installments as Unrwa conducts reviews into its staff to determine whether they participated in the attacks or not.

“Unwra has agreed to the launch of an audit of the agency to be conducted by EU-appointed external experts,” the statement said. “This audit will review the control systems to prevent the possible involvement of its staff and assets in terrorist activities.”

Gunness said that the EU decision was a testament to the fact that Israeli allegations against the agency’s staff members were likely unproven.

“It is a sign that the Europeans have full confidence in Unwra’s neutrality, and they have decided to resume funding.” He said.

March 5, 2024 | 34 Comments »

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34 Comments / 34 Comments

  1. @Felix

    “But the life of Leon Trotsky who was prescient in warning the Jewish people about the coming Holocaust”

    FYI That would be Herzl and before him Marx’s one-time associate, he had introduced Engels to Marx and was the author of the line about religion in the Communist Manifesto when he was a Communist, Moses Hess . founder of Labor Zionism and author of “Rome and Jerusalem” (1862) . Mr. T was late to the party, 1930’s for chrissakes, and a non-participant.

    Did he organize the Jewish Legion like Jabotinsky? Did he influence the British towards the Balfour Declaration like Chaim Weizmann or Herbert Samuel (before he gave away the store as governor)? Did he lead the Yishuv like Ben Gurion?
    He just made some off-hand remarks in interviews when asked while admitting he hadn’t studied the question. Whoopie. Can you name one we can use?

    At least Michael’s candidate for messiah can levitate 3 days after dying. What can yours do?

    I reminded of the joke that goes:

    “A Rabbi and his friend, a Catholic priest, were having a discussion

    when the rabbi asked “Could you ever be promoted within your church?”

    The priest responded, “Well, one day, I hope to become a bishop.”

    The rabbi asked, “And then?”

    The priest though for a second and responded, “Well, then I might become a cardinal.”

    The rabbi again asked, “And then?”

    The priest again pondered the question before responding “Then I would become Pope!”

    The rabbi, still unsatisfied, asked “And then?”

    The priest, exasperated, cried “What else could I become? God Himself!?”

    The rabbi quietly responded “One of our boys made it”

  2. @Felix Here’s another Yiddish word for your edification

    What is the meaning of fakakta?
    Something silly or ridiculous
    Meaning: Something silly or ridiculous.Oct 17, 2019 › videos › t…
    The Bupkis Yiddish Lesson: “Fakakta” Pronounced: fa-KOK-tah Meaning

  3. @Felix

    “Seb Why are you such a fucker up of things?”

    I am reminded of:

    Seb: “What? I came in here for an argument.
    Felix: “Oh, I’m sorry, this is abuse.
    Seb: “Oh, that explains it.”
    Felix “No, you want 12A, next door.”
    Seb: “I see. Sorry.”
    Felix: “Not at all.”
    {exit Seb}
    Felix: “Stupid git!’


    “Argument Clinic” – Monty Python’s Flying Circus

  4. @Felix

    What is the meaning of revealed religion?
    Definition of ‘revealed religion’

    1. religion based on the revelation by [Trotsky, Stalin, Mao, Milton Freedman, Robin D’Angelo, God, Jesus, Buddha, Brahma, Ahura Mazdas (Zoroastrian Deity), the Universe, Allah, The Great Spirit, the Tooth Fairy, or What have you] to humankind of ideas that would not have been arrived at by natural reason alone.

    “A Man is to be cheated into Passion, but to be reason’d into Truth.” – John Dryden (1686) That would be your position.

    “You cannot reason people out of something they were not reasoned into.” – Jonathan Swift, (1721) I guess that would be the rest of us geezers. 😀

    “A short Guide to Comparative Religions” – This was on a million tee shirts in the East Village in the late ’70s/early 80’s, as I recall:

  5. There is a complete opposition on Israpundit to finding out the truth about Trotskyism on Israpundit. This is the opposite of being an objective seeker of truth contained in the above comments from Sebastien Zorn.

    But the life of Leon Trotsky who was prescient in warning the Jewish people about the coming Holocaust

    That stands in contrast to the present hatred of ZORN for Trotsky exhibited by him

    He shows only ignorance of history and what Trotsky actually means for the Jewish people today.

  6. @Felix

    It stopped being communist a long time before

    How about the period in which you defended it, during the Shoah?

  7. I place truth above everything and it turns out Yiddish says so too

    So it is apt for Trotskyism



    People also ask
    What does Emes mean in Yiddish?
    “Emet” means “truth.” In strictly Orthodox circles, it’s pronounced “emes,” and used with strong emphasis in phrases such as “the emesdicke truth.” Truthfulness is a high value in Judaism.”

  8. Seb

    You were in the Stalinist circles so why continue to throw confusion about the place


    “@Laura The Soviet Union remained Communist for 37 years after Stalin.”

    It stopped being communist a long time before

    Are you a total ignoramus or JUST HATE THE RUSSIAN REVOLUTION?

    Keep your stinking video answers!!!

  9. Seb

    Why are you such a fucker up of things?

    I will find the Yiddish translation for truth myself

  10. @Felix

    “What’s the Yiddish for truth I want that please”

    Pravda. Wait, no, that’s Russian. 😀

  11. Seb

    This thread raises problems due to ignorance. Me too but I am conscious of my ignorance.

    Stalinism is an ideology. Ask Adam.

    I do not propose to get in deep here.

    But Avineri is not to my mood tonight.

    Francis When may suit my fatigue…I will invest in the kindle MARX

    Laura hasn’t a clue

    What’s the Yiddish for truth I want that please

  12. @Felix @Laura It would seem the main American Trotskyist party supports Israel,

    whereas the British one supports Hamas!

    Guess what? Jabotinsky believed in me! 😀

    “I believe in the existence of a type of Zionist who does not care about the social color of the ‘State’: I am such a Zionist. If I were to believe that the only way to attain statehood was Socialism, or that it would hasten its establishment by only one generation – I am prepared to agree. I will go even further: I shall even aquiesce to an Orthodox state which will force me to eat gefilte fish from dawn to dusk (if there is no other way). Even worse: A Yiddish-speaking-state which would be for me the end of spell. ” (1935)

  13. @Laura

    Can we just acknowledge that …Putin’s definition of “nazis” are simply Ukrainian nationalists.

    No, because it isn’t true. Nationalists and Nazis in Ukraine are allied to support their shared Monist vision of Ukraine, but it is quite illegitimate to suggest that they are the same or that there are no Nazi’s in Ukraine. In fact, if we could say this, the war in Ukraine would have been over long ago as there have been many attempts which could have born peaceful fruit if not for the Nazi’s employing their typical tool of trade, ie political violence (see below for example).

    To one point, however, you are correct in suggesting that the Nazi’s and Nationalists are the same thing, and that is in their pursuit of a Monist vision of Ukraine. It should also be understood that the Urainian Monists are not just motivated towards removing the rights of ethnic Russians in Ukraine, as they oppose muticulturalism in general, which affects other minorities such as the ethnic Hungarians.

    The Monists wanted a purely Ukrainian state, characterized by purely Ukrainian features such as culture, language and memory, with the latter being the most indelible aspect of the non-Ukrainian peoples who wound up being super-glued to the Rus when the modern Ukrainian state was born. The rights and privileges of these minorities were guaranteed under the original constitution which was replaced with the Post-Maidan constitution which erased those rights, and in the past ten years, those rights were scrolled back even further, even under Zel’s poorly named ruling party, Servant of the People. He should rename his party as being Servant of the Monists for all that it has achieved in its historic level of control over the country, which was of course to a large part manufactured by preventing millions of ethnic Russians from voting.

    In fact, the Monists wanted to claim the lands and wealth which came from the super-glue effect of adding non-Rus territories onto the Rus back in 1992, but they wanted the peoples who occupied those lands to have no way to maintain their cultural identities from one generation to the next. This is the common ground between the non-fascist Nationalists and the fascist Nazi’s. There was, however, no majority to support such a Monist vision in Ukraine, not in 1992, not in 2004 when Viktor Yushchenko pushed it on the public to his electoral regret, and not in 2014 when the Nazi’s carried out the US coup. In fact, it was not the intent of the US that their coup should actually place the Nazi’s in power, as they to only be used for their skill at political violence to bring Yanukovych’s govt to an end. Yet, the Nazi’s had all the means and all the intent that their efforts should not go unrewarded. Their threats to carry out a Maidan 2.0 led to the scuttling of the February 2014 agreement between Russia and the West which would have had Yanukovych indicted, followed by a new election in which Yanukovych would not run, ending any pretense that the Maidan Coup was not actually a coup.

    The same fascists involved in the Maidan used their political violence to scuttle the Easter peace, ending the Geneva talks in April 2014. The fascists struck next in Odessa in May 2014, which all but made certain that the referendum towards sovereignty/separatism in the Dombas would and did pass with a huge majority. These fascists have threatened the govt with their use of political violence ever since which is why even though the people voted for two peace candidates, which each took Ukraine into a war it could not win.

    So to claim that there are no fascists in Ukraine, no Nazi’s but only Nationalists, is simply not true.

    It is over this topic which the war is actually being fought, from the perspective of the Ukrainians in any event (notably the aims of the Monists have been well manipulated by the West to serve their anti-Russian desires, but that is a separate issue). Putin has every reason to want to see such fascist cretins as these removed from any participation in the political affairs of Ukraine in the future, but we will have to wait and see how well he achieves such an ambitious goal, but the existence of fascists in Ukraine is very real, and they should not be confused with the Nationalists which bear both similarities and differences from the Nazi’s at the same time.

  14. @Laura No, Communism and Nazism are not equally evil. The Nazis, like Hamas were dedicated, above all, to the extermination of every Jew on the planet.

    But, Felix is the only Marxist I am aware of, whether Trotskyist, Stalinist, CP-Revisionist, Marxist-Anarchist, Democratic Socialist, or what have you, who does not support Hamas.

    And, Felix, the Soviet Union you idolize, was Stalinist for all but the first 10 years of its history. And, it was Lenin who authorized the formation of the Cheka.

  15. @Felix I thought George Galloway was an Islamist. You were right he is a Stalinist, which is to say, a Marxist.

    “George Galloway (born 16 August 1954) is a British politician, broadcaster, and writer who has served as Member of Parliament (MP) for Rochdale since the 2024 by-election. He has been the leader of the Workers Party of Britain since he founded it in 2019….

    “The Workers Party of Britain was founded in response to the Labour Party’s landslide defeat at the 2019 United Kingdom general election and the resignation of Jeremy Corbyn as Leader of the Labour Party.[14] It was formed with a commitment to “defend the achievements of the people of Great Britain.”[citation needed]”
    The founding of the Workers Party of Britain was welcomed by the Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist–Leninist) (CPGB-ML).[15][3] Joti Brar, a vice-chair of the CPGB-ML, was elected as the Workers Party of Britain’s deputy leader at its founding congress.[15][3]”

    “The CPGB-ML adheres to Marxism–Leninism, the political theory adopted by the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. The CPGB-ML praises communist leaders such as Vladimir Lenin, Joseph Stalin,[6] Mao Zedong,[7] Kim Il Sung,[8] Enver Hoxha[9] and Fidel Castro.[10]”

  16. Can we just acknowledge that communism and nazism are equally evil? And that Putin’s definition of “nazis” are simply Ukrainian nationalists.

  17. Felix, you are despicable. First of all Putin refers to anyone who is anti-Russia and has the audacity not to want their nation under the rule of the Kremlin as being “nazis”. It’s a charge as credible as those who call Trump a nazi. The Ukrainians are in no way actual nazis. Secondly, I absolutely stand by my claim of communists being rabid antisemites and always have been. You can see that obviously being expressed in the streets and campuses today, but even going back to the origins of communism. Your hero Stalin was an antisemite. I refer to you this article:
    Behind the Headlines: How Stalin’s Plan to Annihilate USSR Jews Was Thwarted

    That is the same Nazi Fascists who this Nazi supporter Laura of today urges on to defeat Russia.

    I am no supporter of the Russian regime but when it comes under attack from Nazis I will be in defence against those Nazis mass murderers of Jews.

  18. @SebastienZorn

    About this despicable article

    “Great article, Laura. Bravo.”

    This article is influenced by Nazism because it is a modus operandum of Neo-Nazism to put the label of Antisemitism onto the Bolsheviks.

    This is the Big Lie in operation.

    Let us turn to history to stand on the truth

    It was Lenin and Leon Trotsky who put an end to the massive 1918 to 1920 Pogrom Movement by the suppression of these national Fascists of Ukraine who led the Pogrom.

    That is the same Nazi Fascists who this Nazi supporter Laura of today urges on to defeat Russia.

    I am no supporter of the Russian regime but when it comes under attack from Nazis I will be in defence against those Nazis mass murderers of Jews.

    Mr Zorn perhaps you will explain your own role in all of this.

  19. “Unproven?” This is like Holocaust Denial. “Spain said Monday that it would give an additional 3.5 million euros ($3.8 million) in aid to the UN Palestinian refugee agency UNRWA, which is facing a cash crunch after several nations suspended their funding.”

    – Barrons