Monks: Palestinian Aid Fails to Deliver

Books printed to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East. A Ramallah-based journalist criticizes the work of the U.N. agency and the international community in general in aiding the Palestinians. Photo by: Ryan Brown / United Nations

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East’s work in the Palestinian territories perpetuates “a permanent life-support system,” indicative of failing relief work in the region, Kieron Monks argues.

The aid management structure in the territory is “innately political,” notes Monks, who serves as editor of the Ramallah-based Palestinian Monitor news website.

“At the top level, the ad hoc liaison committee, members include the United States and Israel. The impact of foreign interests can be clearly seen in [the Palestinian Authority] budgets that allocate 10 times more money to security – suppressing resistance to the occupation – than to agriculture, which could be the backbone of the Palestinian economy,” Monks writes in an opinion piece for the Guardian.

He added: “The foreign money flooding into NGOs has entrenched class divisions in Palestinian society. Employment opportunities within them are typically limited to the educated elite class, narrowed further by routine nepotism … The current systems of aid will never deliver peace, or development, while they serve interests that run counter to Palestinian independence.”

An earlier op-ed by Chris Gunness, senior director at UNRWA, in the Guardian explained how the work of his agency helps promote peace in the Middle East. 

>> UNRWA Seeks to Jump-start Middle East Peace with Development Efforts

About the author

  • Ma. Rizza Leonzon

    As a former staff writer, Rizza focused mainly on business coverage, including key donors such as the Asian Development Bank and AusAID.