UNRWA rejects baseless allegations of “erasing Israel from the map”

Statement attributable to UNRWA Spokesperson, Chris Gunness


14 May 2013

East Jerusalem


UNRWA categorically rejects accusations in the media that the Agency is “erasing Israel from the map” because its officials and stakeholders stood next to a map which does not show Israel. The map in question is an embroidery depicting a pre-1948 map and therefore ante-dates the creation of the state of Israel. The allegations are therefore completely false.


The organization that originated the accusation has made similar allegations in the past about UNRWA’s neutrality and was forced to retract after the agency showed them to be false.


I again request that any media organization making similar accusations check with us first before they go public with reports that have consistently been shown to be false.




Background information


UNRWA is a United Nations agency established by the General Assembly in 1949 and is mandated to provide assistance and protection to a population of some five million registered Palestine refugees. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank and the Gaza Strip to achieve their full potential in human development, pending a just solution to their plight. UNRWA’s services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, and microfinance.


Financial support to UNRWA has not kept pace with an increased demand for services caused by growing numbers of registered refugees, expanding need, and deepening poverty. As a result, the Agency's General Fund (GF), supporting UNRWA’s core activities and 97 per cent reliant on voluntary contributions, has begun each year with a large projected deficit. Currently the deficit stands at US$ 72 million.


For more information, please contact:

Chris Gunness

UNRWA Spokesperson

Mobile: +972 (0)54 240 2659

Office: +972 (0)2 589 0267

Sami Mshasha

UNRWA Arabic Spokesperson

Mobile: +972 (0)54 216 8295

Office: +972 (0)2 589 0724