American taxpayer money spent on U.N. programs is often wasted, and the U.N. Relief andWorks Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) is a prime example. The United States remainsthe largest contributor to the United Nations, funding 22 percent of the organization's 2015budget. The United States is also the single largest donor to UNRWA, paying approximately$380 million toward a nearly $1 billion budget in 2015 [see the figure].
UNRWA Has Failed Its Mandate. Over the past 66 years, despitebillions of dollars in aid, there has been little improvement in the lives ofPalestinians under UNRWA's care.
The United Nations set up UNRWA in 1950 to provide relief servicesfor Palestinian Arabs displaced after the 1948 war between the newstate of Israel and its Arab neighbors. The organization was intended toprovide temporary social services only to Palestinian Arab refugees andonly until they could be integrated into the countries that sheltered them.UNRWA has instead grown into a near-permanent refugee industry. Itssubstandard education, health care and social services have left nearly 5million Palestinian Arabs in refugee camps in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria,Gaza and the West Bank with little hope of improving their lives.
- Some 65 percent of Palestinian refugees live in poverty, whichworsened for some in Gaza after Israel's withdraw in 2005.
- The refugee infant mortality rate stands at nearly 22 percent.
- Unemployment in Gaza reached nearly 30 percent in 2011.
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