Palestinian schoolgirls queue at an UNRWA-run school, on the first day of a new school year, in Gaza City August 29, 2018.
(photo credit: REUTERS/MOHAMMED SALEM)
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which is responsible for supporting Palestinian refugees, announced late Monday night that schools and health centers might soon have to shut down due to a lack in funding.
In order to keep operating until the end of the year, the organization said it has to fill a gap of $185 million. "Right now we still have money in the bank", UNRWA's General Commissioner in New York Pierre Krähenbühl commented.
UNRWA schools opened in mid-August
despite a deficit cause by US funding cuts. Half a million students returned to the 711 establishments.
In January 2018, the US US administration decided to suspend more than half of UNRWA's annual funding - $65 million out of $125 million – leading to financial difficulties within the organizations.
On August 31, the Trump administration announced that it would cut all funding to UNRWA
, questioning the organization's "fundamental business model" of servicing an "endlessly and exponentially expanding community" of declared Palestinian refugees.Israel welcomed the United States’ decision
to cut its funding to UNRWA as a positive step forward in the peace process, while the Palestinians and the Jordanians warned it would inflame the Middle East and promote terrorism and extremism.
“This is an assault on the rights of the Palestinian people, and part of a series of anti-Palestinian US decisions and policies,” Palestinian Authority presidential spokesman Nabil Abu Rudaineh said then.
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In mid-September, Krähenbühl appealed in Cairo to Arab League nations to help him raise $200 million in donor funding to make up for the loss of financial support from the United States but with little success.Khaled Abu Toameh, Tovah Lazaroff and Michael Wilner contributed to this report.
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