The head of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for “Palestinian Refugees” (UNRWA) has been suspended amid ongoing investigations into widespread corruption under his watch.

Internal investigations “revealed management issues which relate specifically to the (UNRWA) Commissioner-General” Pierre Krahenbuhl, a statement issued by the UN said on Wednesday.

The allegations which first surfaced in a leaked internal report earlier this year, which found top UNRAW officials implicated in sexual misconduct and other “serious ethical abuses.” The UNRAW chief Krahenbuhl and organization’s top brass were involved in “sexual misconduct, nepotism, retaliation, discrimination and other abuses of authority, for personal gain, to suppress legitimate dissent, and to otherwise achieve their personal objectives,” a report compiled by agency’s ethics office had found.

The latest announcement is apparently a desperate move by the UN to clean the image of the troubled organisation. Major European donors such as Belgium, Holland, and Switzerland froze payments due to the corruption scandals. Last year, President Donald Trump’s administration ended all financial ties with the UN body, calling it “irredeemably flawed.” This is in sharp contrast to the Obama-era when the agency was receiving over $300 million each year in U.S. taxpayer money, covering around third of its billion-dollar budget.

Reuters news agency reported UNRAW chief Krahenbuhl’s ouster:

The head of the U.N. agency that aids Palestinian refugees has stepped aside until the end of an investigation into misconduct allegations, the agency said on Wednesday.

Commissioner-General Pierre Krahenbuhl has been replaced until a review of “management-related matters” at the agency is completed, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) said in a statement.

Preliminary findings “exclude fraud or misappropriation of operational funds” by Krahenbuhl, a U.N. spokesman said separately. “There are, however, managerial issues that need to be addressed.” (…)

Krahenbuhl was notified in March that an investigation was underway by the U.N. Secretariat in New York “based on allegations received against UNRWA personnel relating to unsatisfactory conduct”, an UNRWA spokeswoman said. (…)

UNRWA has faced budgetary difficulties since last year, when the United States, its biggest donor, halted its aid of $360 million per year. The United States and Israel have both accused UNRWA of mismanagement and anti-Israeli incitement.

Switzerland, the Netherlands and Belgium have separately suspended payments to UNRWA over the management issues that are now under investigation. The agency’s spokeswoman says it still needs $89 million to keep operating until the end of this year.

Legal Insurrection has time and again exposed the destructive role played by this so-called Palestinian relief agency. As Professor William A. Jacobson noted last August: “UNRWA is an anti-Israel organization which perpetuates Middle East conflict.” He further added:

UNRWA does so primarily in two ways. First, it defines Palestinian refugees not only as those who fled during the Arab attempt to extinguish Israel’s 1948 birth, but also subsequent generations. This has created the political and legal myth that several million descendents of several hundred thousand refugees having a “right of return” to Israel. (…)

The second way in which UNRWA perpetuates the conflict is by teaching Palestinian children to hate Jews and Israel.

UNRWA-run schools were teaching “martyrdom as a life goal,” Professor Miriam Elman covered in a detailed report for Legal Insurrection in November 2017.

Following Wednesday’s announcement, Israel renewed its call for the dismantling of the agency.

“The conduct of UNRWA demonstrates it is part of the problem and not the solution. The agency is perpetuating the refugee problem in a clearly political manner and making remote any possibility for a solution,” Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz said.

“There is no other solution to UNRWA except to close it,” Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, Danny Danon, remarked.

Despite revelations of widespread corruption within the UN agency and the destructive role played by it in the region, the Western governments have yet to learn their lesson and pull the plug on this disgraced organization. France, the UK, and Germany have stepped up to bridge the financial gap created by the U.S. cuts.

Nikki Haley on cutting UNRWA funding: ‘We’re not going to pay to be abused’

[Cover image via YouTube]

 
 
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