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5 November 2016

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) in the Near East, is a United Nations humanitarian aid organization dedicated to helping Palestinian refugees and their descendants. The refugee organization was founded at the end of 1949 after the Arab population fled Mandatory Palestine as a result of the Arab-Israeli conflict in 1948.

The purpose of the UNRWA

The UNRWA provides humanitarian aid and education in the Palestinian refugee camps. In these camps live the Arabs who lived in Mandatory Palestine between 1 June 1946 and 15 May 1948 and who fled as a result of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Their descendants are also seen as refugees.

The number of refugees continues to grow. The UN estimates that there were originally about 750,000 refugees. This number has already grown to more than 5 million.

The problem of the UNRWA

Recently, the organization has increasingly come in for criticism. Many people believe that the role that the UNRWA is playing in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and their course of action is incorrect. According to critics, the Palestinian population can never become independent due to UNRWA interference. The organization is perpetuating the refugee problem.

In the video below, the Jerusalem Institute of Justice explains how the UNRWA accomplishes the opposite of what the UN refugee agency UNHCR is pursuing.


The refugee organization is fully funded by donors. The main donors are the United States, the European Union, and Germany. However, in 2018, the United States announced that it would end its financial support, causing the organization to lose a third of its total budget.

The Netherlands recently decided to freeze its financial aid to the UNRWA too. This decision was made after a report on the organization appeared in which multiple misuses were made public.