UNRWA rejects latest accusations by Israeli filmmaker

19 September 2011

Statement by UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness

19 September 2011
Jerusalem

UNRWA has reviewed the “trailer” of the latest film by the Israeli filmmaker David Bedein and rejects its allegations. It shows political activities which it claims are taking place in UNRWA facilities but which are not.

For example, it alleges that UNRWA staged an event to celebrate the freeing from Israeli detention of a Palestinian. We reject this.

UNRWA invited Mr Bedein to a meeting on 8 August at which he committed to allowing the Agency to review and comment on his material. Mr Bedein has not honoured this agreement.

UNRWA stands by its robust efforts to promote the highest standards of neutrality. For more details see our neutrality factsheet (PDF).

Ends

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 US$ 69 million.

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