Procedure : 2018/2553(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : B8-0088/2018

Texts tabled :


Debates :

Votes :

PV 08/02/2018 - 12.12
Explanations of votes

Texts adopted :


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See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B8-0085/2018

to wind up the debate on the statement by the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy

pursuant to Rule 123(2) of the Rules of Procedure

on the situation of UNRWA (2018/2553(RSP))

Victor Boştinaru, Elena Valenciano, Knut Fleckenstein, Eugen Freund, Arne Lietz, Norbert Neuser, Pier Antonio Panzeri, Soraya Post, Marita Ulvskog on behalf of the S&D Group

European Parliament resolution on the situation of UNRWA (2018/2553(RSP))  

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to its previous resolutions on the Middle East Peace Process,

–  having regard to the Joint Declaration of the European Union and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) of 7 June 2017 on European Union support to UNRWA (2017-2020),

–  having regard to UN General Assembly Resolution 302 (IV) of 8 December 1949 and to other relevant United Nations resolutions, including General Assembly Resolutions 72/80, 72/81 and 72/82 of 7 December 2017,

–  having regard to the report of the UN Secretary-General of 30 March 2017 entitled ‘Operations of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East’,

–  having regard to Rule 123(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) has been providing vital protection, food and medical assistance, education, relief and social services, shelter and basic infrastructure, microfinance and emergency aid to millions of Palestine refugees living in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip since 1950;

B.  whereas the mandate of UNRWA was established under UN General Assembly Resolution 302 (IV); whereas, in the absence of a solution to the situation of Palestine refugees, the General Assembly has repeatedly emphasised the necessity for the work of the Agency to continue, and regularly renewed its mandate;

C.  whereas UNRWA has been facing an ever increasing demand for its services due to violent conflicts in the Middle East, the occupation of the Palestinian territory, the blockade of and recurrent conflicts in the Gaza Strip, the demographic growth in the number of registered Palestine refugees, and their deteriorating conditions, in particular in the Gaza Strip and Syria over the past years;

D.  whereas on 16 January 2018, the administration of US President Donald Trump announced the transfer of USD 60 million and the withholding of USD 65 million from an expected USD 125 million early contribution to UNRWA’s programme budget for 2018, declaring that any future payment will be conditional upon major changes in the way the Agency operates; whereas, as the United States contributed USD 364 million to the budget of UNRWA in 2017, this decision may result in a cut of almost USD 300 million unless further transfers are made;

E.  whereas the European Union and its Member States together are the largest donor to UNRWA; whereas the European Union has been providing predictable and reliable political and financial support to the Agency on the basis of their multiannual joint declarations; whereas the European Union contributed EUR 143 million to UNRWA in 2017;

F.  whereas UNRWA has taken serious and effective measures over the past years to contain and tighten control over its expenditure, which have been commended by the international community, including the UN General Assembly and the European Union;

G.  whereas on 30 January 2018, UNRWA launched an appeal for its emergency programmes of over USD 800 million – approximately USD 400 million each for the occupied Palestinian territory and for Syria – as well as, on 22 January 2018, for its ‘Dignity Is Priceless’ global fundraising campaign;

H.  whereas in his report of 30 March 2017 the UN Secretary-General made several recommendations aimed at ensuring adequate, predictable and sustainable funding for UNRWA;

1.  Commends the remarkable work of UNRWA and its staff – most of whom are Palestine refugees themselves – in providing vital assistance and protection to millions of registered Palestine refugees across the Middle East;

2.  Applauds UNRWA for its extraordinary efforts aimed at protecting and supporting more than 400 000 Palestine refugees, and many others, in war-torn Syria;

3.  Reiterates its solidarity with the millions of Palestinians who have been living as refugees for decades, waiting for a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict;

4.  Deplores the recent decision by the administration of US President Donald Trump to freeze more than half of its planned funding to UNRWA, and expresses its deepest concern about the consequences of this, with special regard to access to emergency food assistance for 1.7 million Palestine refugees and primary health care for 3 million, in particular in the Gaza Strip and Syria; calls on the United States to revise this decision and to continue its support for UNRWA;

5.  Expresses particular concern about the impact of this decision on access to quality education for more than 500 000 Palestinian children in 702 UNRWA schools, including almost 50 000 children in Syria;

6.  Warns against the detrimental effect that this decision may have, in the shorter and longer run, on regional stability and security as well as radicalisation in the Middle East;

7.  Welcomes the decisions made by the European Union and several of its Member States – such as Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands and Sweden – to fast-track funding to UNRWA in its current situation, and urges other donors to follow this example; recalls the commitment made by the League of Arab States to cover 7.8 % of the Agency’s programme budget;

8.  Encourages the European Union and its Member States to mobilise additional funding for UNRWA in order to meet its short-term financial needs; stresses, however, that any long-term solution to the recurrent financial shortages of the Agency can only be achieved through a sustainable funding scheme in a global multilateral framework; urges the European Union to play a leading role in the international community to establish such a mechanism; underlines the importance of the recommendations made by the UN Secretary-General in his report of 30 March 2017 in this regard;

9.  Stresses that support to UNRWA is not a substitute for credible political efforts aimed at achieving a just and lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians in the framework of a negotiated peace agreement leading to the two-state solution, which is also the only sustainable way of resolving the situation of Palestine refugees;

10.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the EU Special Representative for the Middle East Peace Process, the parliaments and governments of the Member States, the UN Secretary-General and the Commissioner-General of UNRWA.

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