Support UNRWA

Man carries mattresses

February 16, 2024  

Background: Today, all those in Gaza are at severe risk of starvation or famine, and more than 70% of housing has been damaged or destroyed. The Biden administration recently halted U.S. funding for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA). Since 1948 UNRWA has been the most important on-the-ground organization providing vital humanitarian assistance for Palestinian refugees. In addition to its role in meeting basic needs, UNRWA is vital to broader rights for Palestinians, including their status as refugees and any right of return for those displaced.

In January, 12 UNRWA staff were accused of assisting Hamas in conducting the tragic events of October 7. UNRWA employs nearly 13,000 workers in Gaza out of a total of 30,000 throughout the Middle East. The UN is cooperating with investigations and has already terminated the accused staff.

The decision to freeze U.S. funding has had cascading and devastating effects. Thus far, many European Union countries have followed the U.S. lead, announcing more than $500 million in funding cuts for UNRWA. The critical work UNRWA performs cannot be replaced and its defunding will only add to the current humanitarian catastrophe.

Faith Reflection: I will provide for them a splendid vegetation so that they shall no more be consumed with hunger in the land, and no longer suffer the insults of the nations. (Ezekiel 34:29)

Action: Urge Congress and the White House to support UNRWA

Read more: Which countries have cut funding to UNRWA, and why? | UNRWA Under Siege: Navigating Challenges and Shaping a Just Future for Palestinian Refugees | What UNRWA crisis means for Palestinian refugees beyond Gaza

Photo above: Firas Hamlawi, a volunteer with Al-Najd Developmental Forum, an MCC partner in the Gaza Strip, helped distribute mattresses to families in need because of the October 2023 Israeli military bombardment. Photo courtesy of Al-Najd Developmental Forum