Question for written answer 
to the Commission
Rule 130
Raymond Finch (EFDD)

Funding of UNRWA

A report released by United Nations (UN) Watch in November 2015 indicated that at least ten different teachers from the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) are using social media to incite Palestinian knife attacks against Israeli Jews, describing them as ‘apes and pigs’, with one calling on Facebook to ‘stab Zionist dogs’. This practice of incitement to violence has been exposed before by UN Watch, but has only led to the removal of particular posts or pages and temporary suspensions of offenders.

Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch correctly, observed that those who incite to racism or murder should be fired, under a zero tolerance policy, just as the UK Government recently banned a teacher from the classroom for life over an anti-Semitic Facebook post.(1)

1. How much money has the Commission already given to the UNRWA?
2. What measures has the Commission taken in response to this report?
3. Will the Commission suspend UNRWA funding and demand that the offenders are sacked?

(1) UN Watch, ‘Report: despite UNRWA promises, teachers again inciting to violence against “Jewish apes and pigs”’, 30.11.2015,


Answer given by Vice-President Mogherini on behalf of the Commission

The Commission and the HR/VP are aware of the allegations made in the referred report by UN Watch last November concerning social media postings by United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) staff members. They have already raised the matter with UNRWA representatives. Assurances have been provided that UNRWA has referred the matter for internal review in accordance with its own procedures and that disciplinary measures will be adopted if those result in findings of misconduct or violations of UN neutrality.

Since 2000, EU has provided over EUR 1.6 billion to UNRWA out of the European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI) allocation for Palestine. The bulk of EU aid for UNRWA, EUR 82 million per year for the period 2014-2016, has gone to finance its General Fund (now called Programme Budget). In 2015, UNRWA received an additional EUR 20 million, to help finance UNRWA’s programme deficit, bringing the total EU contribution to UNRWA in 2015 to EUR 102 million. On top of this, there are ad hoc temporary projects financed via other instruments. Humanitarian funding to UNRWA amounted to EUR 5 million both in 2015 and 2016 (of which, EUR 4 million for shelter assistance in Gaza). ECHO is also supporting UNRWA’s operations inside Syria since 2012, with successive grant agreements and without any interruption so far. They received EUR 5 million in 2015, which is the likely amount they will receive in 2016.