The United Arab Emirates and Bahrain have substantially cut back funding for the UN agency for Palestinian refugees following their normalization with Israel, in possible “revenge” for the Palestinians’ bitter condemnation of the move, Channel 12 news reported Friday.
Citing the Center for Near East Policy Research, an Israeli NGO, the network said that while the UAE sent the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) $53 million in 2018 and $51 million in 2019, it provided the agency a mere $1 million in 2020.
UNRWA confirmed the data to Channel 12.
The report said Bahrain too had cut funds, but did not provide any figures.
The normalization accords signed last fall infuriated the Palestinians, who condemned them as a “stab in the back” and a “betrayal.”
The Palestinian ambassadors to the Emirates and Bahrain were recalled in August and September, respectively, in the immediate aftermath of the Gulf states’ announcement that they were normalizing ties with Israel, only to quietly return them in November.
Under former president Donald Trump, the United States also halted its support for UNRWA, leaving it with an expected annual deficit of $200 million.
In January, Washington’s interim UN envoy, Richard Mills, said Presidentuae Joe Biden intends to “restore US assistance programs that support economic development and humanitarian aid for the Palestinian people,” without mentioning UNRWA.