Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are working together to terminate the United Nations' special agency for Palestinian refugees, the French newspaper Le Monde reported this week.
Having earlier this year signed a normalization agreement widely regarded as game-changing for the Middle East, the two nations are now reaping the benefits of the accord, including trade and tourism, as well as increased influence on the international arena.
Jerusalem has long regarded the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) as an impediment to a peaceful resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
UNWRA, left severely crippled in 2018 after the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump decided to cancel all U.S. funding to the organization, is facing the "worst financial crisis in its history" amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to its Washington D.C. manager Elizabeth Campbell.
After the U.S. decision to pull the funding, the UNRWA has relied on oil-rich Gulf kingdoms, including the UAE, Qatar and Saudi Arabia to plug the budgetary hole; yet, according to Le Monde, the UAE has not transferred any funds yet this year, in spite of the worsening crisis.
According to the report, Emirati officials are considering letting the agency "gradually disappear."
Earlier this month, Nikki Haley, the former U.S. envoy to the UN, urged Trump to declassify the number of Palestinian refugees enrolled in UNRWA.
"This is about truth, and about the fact that the entire world assumes that there are millions of people that are considered refugees according to UNRWA, yet they will never talk about the facts," she was quoted as saying.