Ex-UNRWA chief blames US, Israel for his resignation

Pierre Krahenbuhl, the former commissioner-general for the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), has blamed the US and Israel for his resignation, Al Jazeera network reported yesterday.

According to the news site, Krahenbuhl said it was clear to him that he would have paid the price for defending UNRWA and refuting the claims of Israel’s ambassador to the UN.

He stressed that the ongoing investigation into the mismanagement of funds related to the UNRWA’s work is being completed for political purposes.

Krahenbuhl stated that he was affected by those who have been targeting UNRWA in order to achieve their goals.

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“Palestinian refugees,” he said, “have been subject to historical oppression and I have several times recognised that their dignity must be protected and their rights must be defended.”

“I recognised that basic aid must continue flowing to them. This is reinforced by the international law.”

He stressed that the US decision to stop the $300 million in annual funding for UNRWA in 2018 aimed at undermining the cause of the Palestinian refugees and ending UNRWA. “When the US endeavour failed, the attacks directly turned political,” he said.

“When I refuted the claims of the US and Israeli representatives regarding Gaza, it was clear that this would have never passed without paying the price,” he said, stating that “raising the voice, rejecting to surrender to the American will and sometimes sarcasm led to silencing this voice.”

Meanwhile, he stressed that his resignation was not a recognition of the claims against him which he still completely rejects.

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“I stress that every single decision I took as a director for the agency was based on ethical considerations and I decided to resign because I am above all of these policies which dominated the issue of the probe,” he said.

“However, I have dealt with the probe with absolute transparency because of the credibility of the UN system which I respect and because of my professional record in the field of humanitarian work.”

He said that parts of the probe were leaked and submitted to member states before I knew about it and that was in violation to the principles of the investigation.

“Last week, I was informed that the investigation proved there had been no falsification or mismanagement and all the claims about the emotional relationship with one of the female advisors were baseless,” he said.

US decision to cut UNRWA funding - Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

US decision to cut UNRWA funding – Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]