Rejoinder to Fox News article

10 August 2011

The article by Ami Horowitz about the United Nations and in particular the UN Relief and Works Agency, UNRWA, on makes unsubstantiated and false allegations.

  • Far from being “outwardly hostile to US interests”, UNRWA’s work is grounded in the universal values that inform US foreign policy. Our programs are regularly audited by the US Government Audit Office to its satisfaction and this is a matter of public record: hardly a sign that we are hostile to US interests or that we use American money to “employ terrorists”.
  • Our school system including our text books are the subject of continual review. The last US-commissioned review by an American educationalist from Georgetown University found the UNRWA curriculum to be “peaceful”, and one in which “religious and political tolerance is emphasized”.
  • Israeli officials including government ministers have acknowledged the contribution to the peace and stability of the Middle East that UNRWA’s work provides: hardly a signal that we are “anti-Israel” or “anti-Semitic”.

Background Information

UNRWA is a United Nations agency established by the General Assembly in 1949 and is mandated to provide assistance and protection to a population of some 5 million registered Palestine refugees. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank and the Gaza Strip to achieve their full potential in human development, pending a just solution to their plight. UNRWA’s services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, and microfinance.

Financial support to UNRWA has not kept pace with an increased demand for services caused by growing numbers of registered refugees, expanding need, and deepening poverty. As a result, the Agency's General Fund (GF), supporting UNRWA’s core activities and 97 per cent reliant on voluntary contributions, has begun each year with a large projected deficit. Currently the deficit stands at more than US$ 106  million.

For more information, please contact:

Christopher Gunness
Spokesperson, Director of Advocacy & Strategic Communications
+972 (0)54 240 2659
+972 (0)2 589 0267