Netanyahu: UN's Palestinian Refugee Agency Should Be 'Thing of the Past'

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu chairs the weekly cabinet meeting at his office in Jerusalem

The U.S. has delayed paying about $125 million to the United Nations agency that serves Palestinian refugees, said two people familiar with the matter, after President Donald Trump vented his frustration about getting no "respect" or help in the peace process despite American funding.

The US is now UNRWA's primary source of funding, giving the agency over $300 million per year.

The US has long provided the Palestinian Authority with much-needed budgetary support and security assistance, as well as an additional $304 million for United Nations programs in the West Bank and Gaza.

UNRWA provides services to 5.3 million Palestinian refugees in the Palestinian territories, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria.

It is surely no coincidence that the same day this new land-grabbing law was passed Trump threatened to cut off all aid to Palestine in a tweet.

Netanyahu complained that the U.N. Relief Works Agency (UNRWA) is focused exclusively on Palestinian refugees and that its funding should instead be shifted to the U.N.'s blanket refugee agency.

Observers say that UNRWA's funds cuts may provoke tensions with Israel, as the body is one of the main channels for delivering aid to the Gaza Strip.

The protestors condemned the U.S. policy which biased to the Israeli occupation and they expressed their solidarity with the Palestinian people and the Palestinian detainees' families.

The Israeli Prime Minister said that practical steps must be taken to change the situation in which "UNRWA perpetuates the Palestinian refugee problem instead of resolving it".

"There is a political decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and we will strive to reach an worldwide political decision to recognise a Palestinian state ... with [East] Jerusalem as its capital", Jordanian foreign minister Ayman Safadi said, according to Agence France-Presse. Other refugees throughout the world receive aid through the UN Refugee Agency under the auspices of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

"Contrary to reports that we have halted funding to UNRWA, the decision is under review", a State Department official told The Times of Israel. The move sparked a new wave of unrest between Israel and the Palestinians, and called into question the USA role in future peace talks.

"The United States and Israel do not really seek to negotiate with the Arabs or the Palestinians; they only want to impose their conditions by the force of money", he pointed out.

Israel has often criticized UNRWA, accusing it of sheltering terrorists and allowing Palestinians to remain refugees even after settling in a new city or country for many generations, thus complicating a possible resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.



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