Israel to Shut Down UNRWA Schools in East Jerusalem without Notification

UNRWA has been helping Palestinian refugees since 1949. (Photo: via Facebook)

Israeli authorities are set to shut down schools in occupied East Jerusalem run by United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) as of next year.

The move would come as the latest strike against UNRWA, which suffered a financial crisis in 2018 due to the United States ending all its financial funds to the agency, in addition to Israel increasingly restricting its activities in East Jerusalem.

Israel’s National Security Council decided during a meeting last month, to revoke permits allowing UNRWA schools in East Jerusalem Palestinian neighborhood to operate, starting as of next year.

The decision would replace UNRWA schools with schools run by the Jerusalem Municipality, using curriculum by the Israeli Education Ministry.

According to UNRWA, the agency runs seven schools in two refugee camps that are located within Jerusalem’s municipal boundaries, which serve about 3,000 students enrolled.

UNRWA spokesperson, Sami Meshasha, said in a statement that the Agency has not received any official notice from Israeli authorities regarding the reports after Israeli media reported that Israeli officials are set to revoke permits for UNRWA-run schools in East Jerusalem as of next year.

Meshasha said,

“UNRWA’s existence in Jerusalem is not a gift from Israel.”

He added,

“There are bilateral agreements binding on Israel to respect the Agency’s installations, jurisdiction and immunity in Jerusalem. In addition, Israel is a party to the 1946 Refugee Convention, and such attempts are in violation of this Convention.”

According to UNRWA, the agency runs seven schools in two refugee camps that are located within Jerusalem’s municipal boundaries, which serve about 3,000 students enrolled.

The Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates said that Israel’s decision to shut down UNRWA schools in East Jerusalem,

“Aims at ethnically cleansing the Palestinian citizens living in Shufat refugee camp.”

UNRWA currently provides services to some 5 million Palestinian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, the occupied Palestinian territories, and the besieged Gaza Strip.

(Ma’an, PC, Social Media)

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