Washington, DC | www.adc.org | January 29, 2018 – The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) is calling on members and supporters to contact their Congressional representatives to urge them to support Palestinian refugees and fund the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA).
On January 16, the U.S. State Department announced an 80% cut of U.S. support for UNRWA. This abrupt cut in funding has created an existential crisis for UNRWA. At stake is the education of more than 525,000 students, primary health care for millions, and the provision of emergency relief, including food assistance to one million refugees in Gaza. As UNRWA’s largest donor, this massive reduction in U.S. funding may lead to widespread school closures and the closing of clinics. No other UN or other international organization has the scale or scope to absorb UNRWA’s activities. Already, UNRWA has been forced to cut back its essential services to refugees.
The United States should not hold hostage humanitarian funding to achieve political objectives. All humanitarian aid should be provided on the basis of need. In every other humanitarian and refugee context, the United States provides humanitarian assistance to those who are displaced from conflict on the basis of their need as civilians and never to achieve political gains. It should be no different with URNWA. No matter the US bilateral relationship with the Palestinian Authority, UNRWA should not be a bargaining chip. No American should be proud of holding hostage vulnerable refugees to extract ignoble concessions from the weaker party.