Accelerated assistance for Palestinian refugees in need

The Netherlands is offering accelerated assistance to Palestinian refugees in need. In doing so, the government aims to ensure that humanitarian assistance and basic services continue to be maintained.

Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Sigrid Kaag will therefore make the Netherlands’ annual contribution of €13 million immediately available to the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA. ‘According to the UN, UNRWA is facing the greatest ever financial crisis in its history,’ said the minister. ‘People in need, especially children, are the ones who will suffer the most as a result. There's also the risk of stability in the region coming under even more pressure.’

UNRWA offers assistance to Palestinian refugees residing in the Palestinian territories, as well as in Jordan, Lebanon and Syria. But the organisation is facing significant financial shortfalls. These have now become acute since the US government withdrew a share of its financial contribution. UNRWA is now unable to guarantee a number of basic services, such as education for over 500,000 Palestinian children, basic healthcare and food aid. ‘UNRWA plays a vital role. And it remains an important partner for the Netherlands.’

During his visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories last week foreign minister Halbe Zijlstra also learned more about the situation facing Palestinian refugees. He too noted that the increasing UNRWA shortfalls are leading to greater humanitarian problems, and that they do little to promote stability in the region or improve relations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. UNRWA will actively work with the Netherlands and other partners to find a solution to its financial issues.