UNRWA said Tuesday it has suspended it program rehabilitate Gaza, which may be good news for Israel since it says material shipped to Gaza are also being used to rehabilitate terror tunnels.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told President Reuven Rivlin in New York Monday night that the United Nations has sent a team to Gaza to investigate assertions by Israel that metal and cement shipped into Gaza are being used for tunnels as well as homes.
UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness told The Jewish Press he is not aware of any money being used for the tunnels, some of which have been identified by the IDF as newly constructed.
The UNRWA program to help Gazans, whose homes were damaged or destroyed by Hamas rockets as well as Israeli fire in last summer’s war, is dependent on pledges of $5.4 billion, including $720 million for UNRWA, made by foreign donors at a conference in Cairo last October..
“The gap between expectations after the October Cairo conference and present reality is widening. There are genuine fears that if UNRWA halts this program, the consequences could be dramatic,” said Gunness.
He added, “All of the money that we can dispense has been spent. There is no more money.” He also stated that no money is missing.
There are two UNRWA aid plans, one for rental subsidies and the other for cash payments for Gazans to buy materials.
The Jewish Press has learned that most of the money that actually was turned over to UNRWA came from Saudi Arabia, followed by the European Union.
The constant threat of violence from Gaza is often fueled by great expectations, and the halt to work for homes in Gazans could stir up the locals again.
And what happened to all of the pledges?
Par for the course, most Arab countries have not lived up to their promises.
For example, Qatar pledged $1 billion.
With the price of oil having caved in since October, perhaps the richest country in the world, which has investments of more than $100 billion, cannot find the shekels for its poor brethren in Gaza.
Qatar’s Sheikh Hamad may need the small change for the maid to clean his home in London, for which he paid $62 million and then spent another $110 million to refurbish, complete with marble bathrooms.