Palestinian children playing in Khallet Zakariya beside the Israeli settlement of Alon Shvut. IRIN/Erica Silverman

The head of the United Nations agency assisting Palestinian refugees today welcomed a $10 million contribution from the United States to its funding.

The contribution was announced at a youth conference of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) in Brussels last week. Funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions from UN Member States, UNRWA provides assistance, protection and advocacy for some five million registered Palestine refugees in the Middle East, pending a solution to their plight.

?I?m heartened that this donation came during such an important conference,? said UNRWA?s Commissioner-General, Filippo Grandi. ?The United States remains UNRWA?s largest bilateral donor and this latest contribution again demonstrates America?s strong support to the agency and its activities, of which improving the lives of Palestinian refugee youth, and the opportunities open to them, is such an important part.?

Contributions to UNRWA?s so-called General Fund are a critical means of supporting its work with Palestine refugees, particularly youth. Sixty per cent of the General Fund budget is dedicated to meeting the educational needs of the over 480,000 children who attend UNRWA schools.

The US? latest contribution brings its total contribution to UNRWA to $65 million so far this year.

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