UAE Drastically Cuts Palestinian Refugee Funding In 2020 Amid Historic Peace Deal With Israel

UAE Drastically Cuts Palestinian Refugee Funding In 2020 Amid Historic Peace Deal With IsraelSource: The Times of Israel

The UAE in September last year signed a peace accord with Israel that resulted in a normalization of its ties with Jerusalem while simultaneously inviting the flak of the Palestinian authorities. This deal was brokered by the erstwhile Donald Trump administration of the United States.

The deal was signed as the UAE had been cutting down its funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), the UN agency that provides education, health care and other vital services to registered Palestinian refugees across the Middle East, in 2020.

UAE had donated $51.8 million to the UNRWA in 2018 and 2019. However, it brought down that funding to a meagre $1 million in 2020, ABC News reported.

Sami Mshasha, spokesperson of the UNWRA, was quoted as saying, “We really are hoping that in 2021 they will go back to the levels of the previous years.”

Back in 2018, Trump administration had taken a major step towards isolating Palestine by cutting down US’ entire $360 million annual funding to the UNRWA.

However, new US President Joe Biden’s administration has announced restoration of aid to Palestinians and said that it will revive peace negotiations.

It should be noted that the Palestine had staunchly criticized UAE’s peace agreement with Israel. Subsequently, Sudan, Morocco and Bahrain also signed similar pacts with the Jewish nation.

The UNRWA rolls out healthcare, education and other instrumental support to 5.7 million Palestinians refugees across the middle-east.

Most of these refugees are descendants of the 7 lakh Palestinians who fled during the Arab-Israel war of 1948. Critics of the UNRWA believe that it perpetuates the ‘right to return’ demand of the refugees, which Jerusalem strongly opposes as such a situation would result in Israel becoming a Palestinian-majority country.