White House seeks clarification on ethical, financial abuses at UNRWA

The White House requested to be updated on potential misuse of US funding of UNRWA; Switzerland suspended their aid with the Netherlands following suit in the wake of the UN report of sexual misconduct, corruption at the highest levels of the Palestinian refugee agency.

By Elad Benari


The White House is seeking clarifications from the UN on the investigation into alleged ethical abuses at UNRWA, the UN agency for “Palestinian refugees”, Israel’s Channel 12 News revealed on Friday.

A senior official told the channel that even though the US stopped contributing to UNRWA, they are concerned there was misuse of US funds.

Channel 12 News obtained a letter on the matter written to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres by Jason Greenblatt, the US Special Representative for International Negotiations.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres & President Trump’s Special Representative for International Negotiations Jason Greenblatt. – Photos: Wikimedia

“Recent reports outlining allegations of abuse of authority by some senior leaders of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) are deeply concerning. I understand the United Nations is conducting a formal investigation into this matter, and I would urge you to continue to carry out the investigation in the most transparent manner possible,” Greenblatt wrote.

The US envoy noted that the US was the single largest donor to UNRWA historically but ended its contributions last year “in part due to UNRWA’s unsustainable business model and fiscal practices.”

“We remain strongly committed to ensuring fiscal transparency and accountability to the United States taxpayer for all funds previously provided to UNRWA. We therefore request that the United Nations keep the United States Government apprised of the status of its investigation into UNRWA leadership’s management practices,” continued Greenblatt.

“If the investigation should yield any findings of impropriety – including, without limitation, any related to potential misuse of US funds – we request immediate notification and access to the UN’s Office of Internal Oversight Services findings,” he concluded.

Charged with nepotism, mismanagement, financial and ethical abuses, Pierre Krähenbühl, Commissioner General for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) is under investigation by the UN. – UN Video screenshot

An internal UN ethics report seen by AFP earlier this week alleged mismanagement and abuses of authority at the highest levels of UNRWA, including involving UNRWA’s top official, Commissioner-General Pierre Krahenbuhl.

Greenblatt earlier this week called for a full and transparent investigation by the UN into the findings.

In the wake of the report, Switzerland on Tuesday said it was suspending funding to UNRWA. The Netherlands followed Switzerland on Wednesday and suspended its contribution to the organization.


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