Middle East Netanyahu urges UN to shut down Palestinian aid agency

Netanyahu urges UN to shut down Palestinian aid agency
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. (Photo: Archive)

JERUSALEM, Israel (Kurdistan24) – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday called for the United Nations to end its Palestinian refugee aid program, adding it was the cause of tensions against Israel.

According to Prime Minister Netanyahu, he raised the concerns during his recent meeting with Washington’s UN envoy Nicky Haley, who recently accused the UN of “anti-Israel” bias

“I told her that the time had come for the United Nations to reconsider the continued existence of UNRWA,” the Israeli PM’s office quoted him saying.

Netanyahu was referring to the UN Relief and Welfare Agency (UNRWA) that he believes is guilty of provocation against the Jewish state.

“In UNRWA’s institutions, there is a great deal of incitement against Israel,” he said during a weekly cabinet meeting.

He mentioned the Palestinians have their own aid agency while millions of other refugees worldwide are cared for by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

The Israeli PM emphasized the organization “perpetuates and does not solve the Palestinian refugee problem.”

“Therefore, it is time to dismantle UNRWA and merge its parts into the UNHCR,” he added.

Meanwhile, the spokesman for UNRWA, Chris Gunness, explained a unilateral decision on the group’s future could not be made.

“UNRWA receives its mandate from the UN General Assembly and only the UN General Assembly, by a majority vote, can change our mandate,” he told AFP.

Gunness added the association had prolonged the authorization of the aid agency for a further three years following a vote in December 2016.

UNRWA runs hundreds of schools for Palestinian refugees in Gaza, the occupied West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Palestinian-populated areas in Lebanon, Jordan, and Syria.

It also delivers aid and provides training centers for teachers, health clinics, and social services.


Editing by G. H. Renaud