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US changes its UN vote from ‘no’ to ‘abstention’ on UNRWA affirmation

CM 09/11/2021


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The Biden administration abstained — but did not reject — a General Assembly Resolution affirming the right of return for Palestinian refugees to sovereign Israel.
In doing so, it broke with the voting pattern on Israel set by former US President Donald Trump in which all such texts received an automatic “no” vote.
The Obama administration, however, had traditionally abstained from this particular text, which comes annually before the UNGA.

“This year, the United States returns to a position of abstention on the text “Assistance to Palestine Refugees,” the American deputy ambassador Richard Mills told the UNGA’s Fourth Committee late Tuesday afternoon.
He spoke as the committee gave initial approval to six anti-Israel and pro-Palestinian draft resolutions that will come later this year to the UNGA plenum for a final vote.

A screenshot of the results of the UN General Assembly vote on assistance to Palestinian refugees. (credit: TOVAH LAZAROFF)A screenshot of the results of the UN General Assembly vote on assistance to Palestinian refugees. (credit: TOVAH LAZAROFF)

Three of those texts affirmed the work of the UN Relief and Works Agency, which services 5.7 million Palestinian refugees in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Gaza, the West Bank and east Jerusalem.
All three of those resolutions call for the right of return for Palestinian refugees to sovereign Israel or for their receipt of compensation for the property they lost when they fled their homes.
Out of the three, the resolution titled “assistance to Palestinian refugees” is considered to be the most benign. 
The US voted against the other two resolutions on UNRWA. Canada similarly abstained on the text called assistance to the Palestinian people and then rejected the other two.
The European Union supported all three texts. Only Israel totally opposed the text “assistance to Palestinian refugees” which passed 160-1, with nine abstentions.
The other countries that abstained were Cameron, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, Papa New Guinea and Uruguay.

A screenshot of the results of the UN General Assembly vote on funding UNRWA (credit: TOVAH LAZAROFF)A screenshot of the results of the UN General Assembly vote on funding UNRWA (credit: TOVAH LAZAROFF)

The Trump administration had opposed UNRWA and cut US funding to the organization. Both the Trump administration and Israel have charged that textbooks used in UNRWA schools are antisemitic and incite against Israel. 
They opposed the UNRWA policy of applying refugee status to the descendants of Palestinians who fled their homes in 1948, a move which they explain creates an ever-increasing population of refugees.
Israel has also opposed the right of return for Palestinians to sovereign Israel, a move which argues would destroy the country’s identity as the ethnic national homeland for the Jewish people. It has explained the essence of a two-state resolution to the conflict, Palestinians would have a right of return solely to a Palestinian state, much like Jews would have a right of return solely to Israel.
The Biden administration, however, has restored US funding and support for UNRWA.

A screenshot of the results of the UN General Assembly vote on restitution for Palestinian refugees (credit: TOVAH LAZAROFF)A screenshot of the results of the UN General Assembly vote on restitution for Palestinian refugees (credit: TOVAH LAZAROFF)

“As many Members know, under President Biden, the United States announced it would restore its financial support to UNRWA, which we do believe is a vital lifeline to millions of Palestinians across the region,” Mills told the UNGA. 
“Since April, the U.S. government has provided more than $318 million to UNRWA in Fiscal Year 2021, including critical support for education, health, and social services benefiting millions of Palestinian refugees registered with UNRWA,” Mills said.
The US, he said, has noted that some changes were made to the text of the resolutions on UNRWA “that reflect our priorities in line with strengthening UNRWA.” 
He added that “the United States will continue to work with UNRWA; work to strengthen the Agency’s accountability, its transparency, and its consistency with UN principles.”
Mills called on UN member states to support UNRWA financially, noting that many of those who voted in favor of the three UNRWA resolutions were not willing to spend money on the organization.
“I would also like to take a moment to point out the overwhelming support from Member States for these resolutions voted here today, compared with the relatively few Member States that financially support UNRWA. 
“In light of the Agency’s urgent shortfall, the United States urges Member States to support UNRWA’s services for Palestinian refugees not only in word, but in action, and to do so on an expedited basis,” Mills said.
The resolutions were voted in advance of a donor pledging conference for UNRWA scheduled to take place in Belgium on November 16.

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CM

The host of Coffee Mouth Scare Crow Show and CEO of 452 Impact, Inc. Here is food for thought. Romans 6:23 "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." John 3:16 "For God so love ed the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him shall be saved."

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