UNRWA downplays Israel's rhetoric, says its mandate comes from UN General Assembly

UNRWA downplays Israel's rhetoric, says its mandate comes from UN General Assembly

UNRWA downplays Israel's rhetoric, says its mandate comes from UN General Assembly

USA involvement with resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is off the table until President Donald Trump revokes his decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, a top Palestinian negotiator said Tuesday.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday, 20 Teves, that he "completely agrees" with President Donald Trump's critique of the United Nations agency aiding Palestinian refugees, saying that UNRWA only perpetuates the problem and should cease from operating in the region.

"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.

On Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he agreed with Trump's reported decision to cut funding. He added that the organization "must disappear" because the Palestinians' right to return to Israel was a stance meant to eliminate the State of Israel.

Speaking with Sputnik Radio's Loud & Clear about Trump's threat to axe funding to the Palestinians, cofounder of The Electronic Intifada, Ali Abumimah, said it would be important to determine whether the funding cuts would hit UNRWA or the Palestinian Authority.

"My announcement today marks the beginning of a new approach to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians".

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Earlier in the week, Trump complained on Twitter that "we pay the Palestinians HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS a year and get no appreciation or respect". Israel captured the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem in the 1967 6-Day war.

He added that UNRWA, which began operations on 1 May 1950, was funded by contributions from United Nations member states and whose services encompass education, healthcare, social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, microfinance and emergency assistance, and it has a mandate to continue with its mission until there is a just and lasting solution to the Palestine refugees issue.

UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness said it had not been informed of any changes to USA funding at this time and responded to Netanyahu by saying that only the U.N. General Assembly could alter their mandate.

In addition to its services in Gaza, UNRWA operates in Jordan, Syria and Lebanon.

The U.S.is UNRWA's single largest donor, providing about $300 million annually. "This needs to be resolved by the parties to the conflict in the context of peace talks", he said.

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