Inner City Press

Inner City Press -- Investigative Reporting From the Inner City to Wall Street to the United Nations

These reports are usually available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis

  Search Search WWW (censored?)

In Other Media -e.g. Somalia, Nepal, Ghana, Azerbaijan, The Gambia  For further info, click here to contact us         .

Home -

These reports are usually available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis


Subscribe to RSS feed

Video (new)

Reuters AlertNet 8/17/07

Reuters AlertNet 7/14/07

Support this work by buying this book

Click on cover for secure site orders

also includes "Toxic Credit in the Global Inner City"




Bank Beat

Freedom of Information

How to Contact Us

Cash Hard to Come by in Gaza, Development Scarce as Tony Blair Wears Too Many Hats, UNRWA Head Says

Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis

UNITED NATIONS, October 31 -- One way to try to understand the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories of Gaza and the West Bank is to, well, follow the money. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon himself had to call Israel's president to push to allow currency in, to pay the 11,000 staff members of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees, UNRWA chief Karen AbuZayd told the Press on Friday. Inner City Press asked about reports that UNRWA is paying taxes to Israel, despite what are called its privileges and immunities. Yes, Ms. AbuZayd said, we pay, to use the port and taxes, to make claims, hoping to be paid back. Video here, from Minute 49:31.

  Afterwards, Inner City Press asked Ms. AbuZayd if she or Ban have pushed this tax issue. No, she said. Where else does the UN quietly pay taxes? The question was left unanswered, although it is noted that Myanmar taking 20% of UN aid money through forced currency transactions is like a form of tax.

  Inner City Press asked UNRWA's Ms. AbuZayd about the work of Tony Blair, UN envoy and, among other things, $1 million a year consultant to JPMorgan Chase. Ms. AbuZayd smiled and said "we want to see what more he could do with the many hats he wears." Video here, from Minute 42:17.

Ms. AbuZayd and Mr. Ban: they called about salary, but apparently not taxes

It was a rare and appreciated burst of candor from within the UN. The question of what safeguards, if any, there are against Blair having a conflict of interest between being a UN envoy and an envoy of JPM Chase has yet to be answered.

  Ms. AbuZayd said that one top-ten donors to UNRWA has already said it will cut its contributions in half, based on the global financial crisis. Pressed on which country that is, Ms. AbuZayd to her credit named names: Italy. This of course is precisely what Ban Ki-moon implored developed countries not to do. But this may just be beginning.

   Watch this site, and this Oct. 2 debate, on UN, bailout, MDGs

and this October 17 debate, on Security Council and Obama and the UN.

* * *

These reports are usually also available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis.

Click here for a Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click here for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali National Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an undefined trust fund.  Video Analysis here

Feedback: Editorial [at]

UN Office: S-453A, UN, NY 10017 USA Tel: 212-963-1439

Reporter's mobile (and weekends): 718-716-3540

  Search  Search WWW (censored?)

Other, earlier Inner City Press are listed here, and some are available in the ProQuest service, and now on Lexis-Nexis.

            Copyright 2006-08 Inner City Press, Inc. To request reprint or other permission, e-contact Editorial [at] -