Tuesday, September 08, 2009

UNRWA appeals for Zakat funds

Even though UNRWA is exclusively concerned with helping Palestinian Arabs, the bulk of its funding has always come from Western countries. Arab nations, even oil-rich ones, pledge far less than many European countries, and they often ignore their pledges. Even special UNRWA appeals to Arab nations are ignored.

After the Gaza conflict, UNRWA appealed again to rich Arab nations to help, asking for over $180 million, and only one stepped up:
UNRWA spokeswoman, Elena Mancusi Materi, says most of that money came from traditional Western donors, except for one generous contribution from an Arab country.

"We received $34 million from Kuwait. Then we received $400,000 from Qatar," Materi said. "We received, I think, $100,000 from Saudi Arabia … But, it is nothing major apart from the very big and generous Kuwaiti donations for Gaza."

Meanwhile, the US pledged $81 million.

This year, UNRWA is trying something new - appealing straight to Muslim Arabs to donate to UNRWA.

Palestine Today reports that UNRWA started a special Ramadan appeal for the $181 million it says it needs for Gaza by advertising in major Arab newspapers saying donated funds would fulfill their Zakat obligations during Ramadan.

The ads include a background image of a mosque destroyed during the fighting. I wonder if it was this one:

It will be interesting to see if ordinary Arabs, who are weaned with pro-Palestinian Arab propaganda from birth, will respond as stingily as their host countries do.