The US government is withholding at least US$125 million in funds it was expected to provide to the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine (UNRWA). The agency provides services to 5.3 million refugees in the Palestinian territories, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria, and operates 711 schools and 143 health clinics.
Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch, commented today on the US move by saying, “It is vindictive for the US government to deprive the UN of money to feed and educate Palestinian children in order to blackmail the Palestinian Authority into rejoining Trump administration-led peace negotiations.”
Roth continued as saying, “If the US government proceeds with this bullying tactic, other governments should step in to fill the gap so that programs aren’t forced to shut down.”
U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley states that Trump administration wants to stop funding ($300m per year) the UNRWA (UN Relief and Works Agency), the agency tasked with assisting Palestinian refugees, until they "return to the negotiating table" with… pic.twitter.com/5DbvlM8wB9
— #FreePalestine 🇵🇸 (@Taghreeba) January 3, 2018
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told his cabinet meeting last week the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) “must disappear.”
According to the Jerusalem Post, Netanyahu made the remarks at the start of the weekly gathering, addressing recent reports that the US intends to stop funding the agency.
“I fully agree with President Trump’s strong criticism of UNRWA,” Netanyahu declared.
UNRWA Responds to Netanyahu: We Will Continue Until Refugee Crisis is Resolved https://t.co/PohdEjR2IL
— Elke Götze (@Pucemargine) January 9, 2018
“UNRWA is an organization that perpetuates the problem of the Palestinian refugees,” he continued. “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 disappear.”
(HRW, Days of Palestine, PC, Social Media)