Sunday, 23 September, 2018

UNRWA vows to go on after Israel's call to scrap agency

UN trucks carrying building materials for projects funded by UNRWA arrive in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip after crossing the Israeli Kerem Shalom crossing Will Trump and Israel Cut Off Aid to Millions of Palestinian Refugees?
Faye Gross | 09 January, 2018, 00:26

"This is how to rid the world of UNRWA and deal with genuine refugee problems, to the extent that such remain", he added.

In a series of tweets on Sunday evening, a spokesperson for the United Nations agency said it would continue providing help to Palestinian refugees until the global community comes up with a solution for their plight. "It also perpetuates the narrative of the so-called right of return with the aim of eliminating the State of Israel, and therefore UNRWA must pass away".

Palestinian officials have said Trump's declaration on Jerusalem, overturning decades of US policy, meant he could not serve as an honest broker in peace negotiations that Washington has been trying to revive, and they condemned his remarks on a funding halt as blackmail.

Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians either fled or were forced from their homes during the war that led to Israel's establishment in 1948.

Palestinian students raise their hands in a school run by the UNRWA.

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The Israeli premier told his colleagues he had suggested "that the funds for UNRWA should be gradually transferred to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, with clear criteria for supporting real refugees, rather than fictitious refugees, which is what is happening today under UNRWA".

He continued, "Israel is sending two messages". In 2012, an estimated 30,000-50,000 were still alive but there were an additional 4,950,000 "registered patrilineal descendants" of the original refugees, 1.5 million of them living in UNRWA camps.

UNRWA spokesman Sami Mushasha said in a statement that "what perpetuates the problem of Palestinian refugees is failure of the parties to deal with this issue, which should be resolved by the parties to conflict through peace negotiations based on United Nations resolutions and worldwide law as well as active involvement from the global community".

While Netanyahu supports the aid cut, he believes the move should be gradual. "They don't even want to negotiate a long overdue peace treaty with Israel".

Israel's Channel 10 television reported Friday that the United States had already frozen a payment to UNRWA, but a spokesman for the UN aid agency said Saturday that they "have not been informed directly of a formal decision either way by the U.S. administration".

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