IRELAND is to provide an extra €2million in funding to the Palestinian people through UNRWA – the UN relief agency for Palestine.
Today’s announcement from Tánaiste and Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney will mean Ireland’s total contribution to the agency this year comes to €9million.
The news comes after Mr Coveney urged America in September to reconsider its decision to end its UNRWA funding.
Highest ever contribution
“Ireland is a longstanding supporter of UNRWA’s work in delivering healthcare, education and relief and social services, including humanitarian food assistance, to 5.3million Palestine refugees,” he said.
“The ongoing conflict in the Middle East region has meant an increased demand for UNRWA’s services.
“The US decision earlier this year to cease funding to UNRWA has made the Agency’s situation even more precarious.
“Ireland has responded by significantly increasing our funding to UNRWA this year.
“Today’s announcement of a further €2million for UNRWA brings our total funding this year to €9million – our highest ever contribution, up from €5.5million in 2017.”
America withdrew its funding for UNRWA three months ago, describing the organisation as ‘deeply flawed’.
Since then, Mr Coveney has urged UN Member States to help make up the shortfall.
“At the UN General Assembly in New York in September, I encouraged Member States to increase their funding to UNRWA and I said that Ireland hoped to be able to provide US$10million to UNRWA this year,” he said.
“This additional funding makes good on that promise.
“The services that UNRWA provides are necessary, and will remain necessary, until a durable solution to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict can be negotiated that meets the needs of both parties, ends the occupation that began in 1967 and resolves all final status issues.”
Mr Coveney made three visits to Palestine and Israel this year, during which he reiterated Ireland’s support for a two-state solution.
In September, Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas visited Ireland following an invitation from the Tánaiste.