UNRWA was not notified of any decision to close down schools it operates in East Jerusalem

21 January 2019

We deliver services and maintain facilities in East Jerusalem since 1950 under our General Assembly mandate. This mandate includes East Jerusalem as part of our operational area.

At no point since 1967 have the Israeli authorities challenged the basis on which the Agency maintains and operates premises in East Jerusalem. Israel is a party to the 1946 Convention on Privileges and Immunities of the United Nations which safeguards the UN’s ability to fulfill its functions free from interference. 

Furthermore, there is a bilateral agreement between UNRWA and Israel which obligates Israel to protect our installations in areas under its authority and to facilitate UNRWA tasks to the best of its ability, among other obligations.

Background Information: 

UNRWA is confronted with an increased demand for services resulting from a growth in the number of registered Palestine refugees, the extent of their vulnerability and their deepening poverty. UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions and financial support has been outpaced by the growth in needs. As a result, the UNRWA programme budget, which supports the delivery of core essential services, operates with a large shortfall. UNRWA encourages all Member States to work collectively to exert all possible efforts to fully fund the Agency’s programme budget. UNRWA emergency programmes and key projects, also operating with large shortfalls, 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 5.4 million Palestine refugees registered with UNRWA across its five fields of operation. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank, including East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip achieve their full human development potential, pending a just and lasting solution to their plight. UNRWA services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, protection and microfinance.

For more information, please contact:

Sami Mshasha
Director of Communications, Arabic Language Spokesperson
Mobile: 
+972 (0)54 216 8295
Office: 
+972 (0)258 90724