Israeli ambassador to UN calls for UNRWA’s shutdown, as its chief steps down

November 7, 2019 by Aryeh Savir - TPS
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Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations Danny (UN) Danon called for the shuttering of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) after the body publicized the preliminary findings of its probe into broad corruption among its leadership.

Danny Danon Photo: Hillel Maeir/TPS

The UN Secretary-General’s office on Wednesday announced that the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) has partially completed the inquiry into “UNRWA management-related matters.”

The findings revealed “management issues” related specifically to the Commissioner-General Pierre Krähenbühl. He initially stepped aside until the completion of the process, and Christian Saunders had been appointed the Officer-In-Charge for the interim period. Hours later, he completely resigned.

“Since its establishment, UNRWA has not worked to resolve the refugee issue, but instead fought hard to perpetuate it. The growing list of charges related to the agency’s conduct makes it clear that there is no other solution except to close it,” Danon stated.

“The publications confirm Israel’s claims that the agency’s action model requires a profound and fundamental change,” Israel’s Foreign Ministry stated.

Israel further charged that under Krähenbühl’s leadership, “UNRWA’s politicization has increased, the budget deficit has grown, and the organization’s model of operation has proven to be unsustainable.”

“UNRWA’s mandate renewal is a completely absurd, immoral, and unacceptable move,” the statement added.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly charged that “UNRWA is an organization that perpetuates the Palestinian refugee problem. It also perpetuates the narrative of the right-of-return, as it were, in order to eliminate the state of Israel; therefore, UNRWA needs to pass from the world.”

He said the solution is to gradually shift UNRWA’s funding to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), “with clear criteria for supporting genuine refugees, not fictitious refugees as happens today under UNRWA.”

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