Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin chose his words carefully on Sunday as he discussed a proposed funding halt for Palestinian refugees by U.S. President Donald Trump although he once again called for the U.N. agency that is supposed to help Palestinian refugees to be dismantled.
Netanyahu’s comments were guarded because although he wants to support Trump and the U.S., his closest ally, he also knows that cutting off of funds will further drive the Palestinian people into hardship which would no doubt push the militants into more conflict with Israel
With Palestinians seething over U.S. President Donald Trump’s recognition last month of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, he threatened on Tuesday to withhold aid money, accusing them of being “no longer willing to talk peace”.
On Friday, in a report denied by a State Department official, the Axios news site said Washington had frozen $125 million in funding for UNRWA. The U.N. agency, founded in 1949 to aid Palestinian refugees, is a main provider of educational and health services in the Gaza Strip.
Netanyahu said UNRWA was “an organization that perpetuates the Palestinian problem.”
“It also enshrines the narrative of the so-called ‘right of return’. Therefore, UNRWA should pass from the world,” he told a weekly cabinet meeting.
Praising Trump’s “critical approach” on the aid issue, Netanyahu steered clear of advocating a suspension of funding for the Palestinians. He said U.N. money for them should be transferred gradually to its global refugee agency UNHCR “with clear criteria for supporting genuine refugees and not fictitious ones, as is happening today under UNRWA.”
Despite Arab and Palestinian protests over where the U.S. chooses for its embassy, the United States is the U.N.’s largest donor to UNRWA, pledging more than $370 million dollars as of 2016. UNRWA called this latest development a “failure of the parties to deal with the issue…”
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