Palestinian government seeks continued financial aid for UNRWA

Palestinian government seeks continued financial aid for UNRWARamallah : The Palestinian government called on Monday on the United Nations General Assembly and international community to continue to support the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) to help it continue with the mission for which it was created for until the Palestinian refugees are able to return to their homes they were forced out from in 1948.

Government spokesman Yousef al-Mahmoud condemned calls by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for dismantling UNRWA as a way to end the Palestinian refugee issue. Netanyahu said on Sunday that UNRWA’s existence “perpetuates the problem of the Palestinian refugees,” claiming that the Palestinian right of return aims at eliminating Israel. Al-Mahmoud expressed surprise at Netanyahu’s claim that the Palestinian right of return aims at eliminating Israel, describing it as incitement.

“No one can imagine that Netanyahu’s incitement against UNRWA could reach such a level,” he said, adding that “Netanyahu would not have said this if it wasn’t for the recent American statements regarding Washington’s intention to end its contribution to UNRWA.”

He described the US position toward the UN agency as “blackmail” as well as “to pressure the Palestinian leadership to compromise on the national constants, which is condemned and rejected by the Palestinians.”

A senior US administration official denied on Sunday that a decision has been made on cutting aid to UNRWA. “There is no existing schedule that obligates the United States to provide specific amounts of aid to UNWRA on specific dates,” said the official in a statement from Washington. “The decisions of when to provide aid in the fiscal year, and in what allocations, lie with the Secretary of State. At this time no such decisions have been made.”

UNRWA rejected as well Netanyahu’s campaign against it, stressing that its mandate comes only from the UN General Assembly, which created it in 1950.

“What perpetuates the problem of Palestinian refugees is failure of the parties to deal with this issue, which should be resolved by the parties to conflict through peace negotiations based on UN resolutions and international law as well as active involvement from the international community,” UNRWA spokesman Sami Mushasha said in a statement on Monday.



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