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 foxnews.com 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 funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions, and financial support has not kept pace with an increased demand for services caused by growing numbers of registered refugees, deepening poverty and conflict. As a result, the UNRWA General Fund, which supports core essential services and most staffing costs, operates with a large deficit. UNRWA emergency programmes and key projects, also operating with large deficits, are funded through separate funding portals. 

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

For more information, please contact:

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

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