Extra Belgian cash for UN’s Palestinian aid agency

The Federal Development Aid Minister Alexander De Croo (Flemish liberal) has announced that Belgium is to increase the amount it gives to the United Nations Relief and Welfare Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) The extra 4 million euro Belgium intends to give to UNRWA should go some way to making up a shortfall that had come about after the United States government decided to half to the amount it gives to the agency.

The American government’s decision posed a threat to the continuation of the work done by UNRWA with Palestinian refugees. This year Belgium will donate a total of 11 million euro to UNRWA. Belgium hopes that other countries will follow suit.    

UNWRA organises education and medical care for hundreds of thousands of Palestinians (and their descendants) that were displaced from what is now Israel in 1949. Previously, the United States stumped up 135 million US dollars/annum, a third of UNWRA’s budget.

However, the Trump administration has cut this by more than half and the United States will now pay 60 million dollars to the agency. The Americans say that this is to make the Palestinians negotiate with Israel.