Trump's UN Ambassador appointee, Nikki Haley has lashed out at the decision by Joe Biden's administration to resume the funding of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), claiming that the organisation is "corrupt" and performs duties bestowed upon it inadequately.
"The Palestinian aid agency, UNRWA, is among the most corrupt and counterproductive of all UN agencies. President Trump was right to abandon it," Haley said referring to a move by her former boss to end UNRWA's funding in 2018.
Haley, who is rumoured to have presidential ambitions, argued that the Democrat president will be "wasting millions of American tax dollars" by supporting the UNRWA. She further claimed that by restoring the UNRWA funding, Biden will be "undermining the great progress being made on Middle East peace". It is unclear, if Haley was referring to the overall process achieved throughout several decades, or to ultimately unsuccessful attempts by Donald Trump to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict using the so-called "deal of the century".
UNRWA's Disputed Performance
The US Congress questioned the UNRWA's conduct well before the Trump administration pulled the plug on its financing over failure to organise "appropriate burden-sharing" and being "a hurdle to peace". Back in 2014, several US Senators demanded a probe be conducted into the UN agency's actions after reports of UNRWA allegedly siding with Hamas in the 2014 Gaza-Israel conflict.
These suspicions were fuelled by the reports of several UNRWA-operated buildings, including schools, being used by the Hamas fighters. UNRWA, in turn, itself reported at least one case of finding rockets stored in one of its schools denying knowledge of their origins. However, this finding was soon overshadowed by an unsubstantiated report that the agency returned the arms to Hamas.
An unconfirmed media report in Al Jazeera also alleged that the UNRWA's leadership has consolidated power in its hands and has been engaging in misconduct, nepotism, and other corrupt activities. The UN body responded by referring to several independent evaluations of its effectiveness carried out by the Multilateral Organisation Performance Assessment Network (MOPAN). During the initial assessment in 2011, MOPAN ruled that UNRWA performs adequately or well in most of the key areas of its activities. A subsequent review of the organisation by the network concluded that the UN humanitarian agency continued to improve its programmes and called UNRWA "competent, resilient and resolute".