As of December 31, 2017, UNRWA posted a financial statement that its income rested at a stable $1.2 billion, stemming from donations from 68 donor nations and 27 other sources.

Yet on September 27, The UN hosts a session to discuss an alleged financial crisis faced by UNRWA, launched by a Sweden, Japan Germany and Turkey, among others. The background: In January, 2018, the US announced a cut of $65 million from the US donation, granting UNRWA half of its first payment of $130 million. In other words, the US was slashing 5% from the total UNRWA budget

Almost immediately, UNRWA issued screaming declarations the US totally slashed its total allocation to UNRWA, which it did not do until August 31, 2018, and that UNRWA could not function without the US donation. All this, despite the fact that UNRWA itself issued acknowledgements to other donor nations who quickly filled the gap in funding that the US had left. To make sure that the UNRWA message that it had been rendered destitute by the US cutbacks would be heard around the world, UNRWA hired a PR firm, “Marathon Strategies”, which had helped former Secretaries of State , John Kerry and Hillary Clinton in their respective presidential campaigns. With new PR support, UNRWA launched a campaign, “Dignity is Priceless”. The culmination of that campaign occurred on World Refugee Day, on June 25, when UNRWA conducted a press conference to declare that UNRWA was indeed bereft of funds, because of US cutbacks.

In the wake of the UNRWA June 25 briefing, The Center for Near East Policy Research contacted UNRWA donors, to determine if any nation had withdrawn its funding. 44 nations confirmed that they continued to fund UNRWA during 2018, while more than a dozen governments issued statements that they were increasing donations to UNRWA, including Sweden, Norway, Turkey, the UK, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. By July 15, the Center for Near East Policy Research tabulated that UNRWA, which pleaded poverty and even stopped paying salaries, sat on a cash flow of close to a billion dollars was netted by UNRWA during their “Dignity is Priceless” campaign.

Yet UNRWA claims that it only can function until the end of October, issuing press releases each day, in 20 languages, claiming each day that the US cutback has caused the UNRWA fiscal crisis. Unpaid UNRWA workers now conduct demonstrations to protest UNWRA has reduction in fees to the 29,000 UNRWA workers.

UNRWA workers and the donor nations to UNRWA are not fools.

UNRWA employees and UNRWA donor nations should ask about the transparency and accountability of funds that flow to UNRWA from 67 other donor nations.

Where did close to a billion dollars in aid this year to UNRWA wind up?


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David Bedein is an MSW community organizer and an investigative journalist.   In 1987, Bedein established the Israel Resource News Agency at Beit Agron to accompany foreign journalists in their coverage of Israel, to balance the media lobbies established by the PLO and their allies.   Mr. Bedein has reported for news outlets such as CNN Radio, Makor Rishon, Philadelphia Inquirer, Los Angeles Times, BBC and The Jerusalem Post, For four years, Mr. Bedein acted as the Middle East correspondent for The Philadelphia Bulletin, writing 1,062 articles until the newspaper ceased operation in 2010. Bedein has covered breaking Middle East negotiations in Oslo, Ottawa, Shepherdstown, The Wye Plantation, Annapolis, Geneva, Nicosia, Washington, D.C., London, Bonn, and Vienna. Bedein has overseen investigative studies of the Palestinian Authority, the Expulsion Process from Gush Katif and Samaria, The Peres Center for Peace, Peace Now, The International Center for Economic Cooperation of Yossi Beilin, the ISM, Adalah, and the New Israel Fund.   Since 2005, Bedein has also served as Director of the Center for Near East Policy Research.   A focus of the center's investigations is The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). In that context, Bedein authored Roadblock to Peace: How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict - UNRWA Policies Reconsidered, which caps Bedein's 28 years of investigations of UNRWA. The Center for Near East Policy Research has been instrumental in reaching elected officials, decision makers and journalists, commissioning studies, reports, news stories and films. In 2009, the center began decided to produce short movies, in addition to monographs, to film every aspect of UNRWA education in a clear and cogent fashion.   The center has so far produced seven short documentary pieces n UNRWA which have received international acclaim and recognition, showing how which UNRWA promotes anti-Semitism and incitement to violence in their education'   In sum, Bedein has pioneered The UNRWA Reform Initiative, a strategy which calls for donor nations to insist on reasonable reforms of UNRWA. Bedein and his team of experts provide timely briefings to members to legislative bodies world wide, bringing the results of his investigations to donor nations, while demanding reforms based on transparency, refugee resettlement and the demand that terrorists be removed from the UNRWA schools and UNRWA payroll.   Bedein's work can be found at: and A new site,, will be launched very soon.