The United Arab Emirates says it does not plan to fund the U.N. Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees, this year as part of a “wiser way of utilizing funds,” according to Minister of State for International Cooperation Reem al-Hashimy said the decision, made for the second year in a row, was not connected to the UAE’s establishing diplomatic relations with Israel as part of the Abraham Accords, but instead due to the global coronavirus pandemic.
“COVID was a revealing time and led us to push the reset button. We believe that we have a moral responsibility, but not under the same mechanism,” said Hashimy. “We want to see how international organizations are revising their approach. We are looking for more efficacy and a wiser way of utilizing funds.”
That efficacy might be found in other organizations, she added, such as the International Committee of the Red Cross.
The UAE, which currently chairs UNRWA’s advisory committee, contributed $50 million to the agency in 2019 and $20 in 2018. Although no donations have been made since 2019, Hashimy said that private charities in the UAE have contributed $1 million to the agency during that time