19 March 2019

Israeli PM backs US plan for UNRWA fund cuts

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reiterated support for U.S. plans to cut funds for UN refugees agency UNRWA. reports citing Turkish media.

"I fully agree with President Trump's strong criticism of UNRWA,” Netanyahu said at his weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday.

“UNRWA is an organization that perpetuates the problem of the Palestinian refugees,” he said. “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.”

Last week, U.S. President Donald Trump threatened to cut aid to the Palestinians, including to UNRWA, in response to Palestinian fury over his decision last month to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Israeli media said Saturday that Netanyahu "supports a gradual reduction of funding to UNRWA."

According to UNRWA website, the U.S. is the largest donor to the agency as it annually provides about $370 million out of a total of around $874 million of funds the agency receives.

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

By the end of 2014, the number of Palestinian refugees hit 5.9 million, according to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS), of which about 5.3 million are registered among UNRWA’s lists.

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.

2018.01.07 / 19:19
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