Israel's Netanyahu urges end to UN Palestinian refugee agency


Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu has expressed support for a gradual cutback of USA funding to the United Nations Relief and Work Agency (UNRWA) for Palestinian refugees, according to Israeli reports.

What perpetuates the refugee crisis is the failure of the parties to deal with the issue.

A Palestinian man stands next to a cart carrying a flour sack distributed by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in Khan Younis refugee camp in the southern Gaza Strip January 3, 2018. In February, UN Watch released an 130-page report exposing 40 UNRWA school employees in Gaza and elsewhere who engaged in incitement to terror against Israelis and expressed "anti-Semitism, including by posting Holocaust-denying videos and pictures celebrating Hitler".

"It also perpetuates the right of return narrative in order to eliminate the state of Israel, therefore UNRWA must become a thing of the past", Netanyahu said.

Trump angered the Palestinians last week when he threatened in a pair of tweets to cut funding to the United Nations agency that handles Palestinian refugees if the Palestinian Authority doesn't talk peace with Israel.

Israel is deeply critical of UNRWA, charging that the organization harbors terrorists and perpetuates the Palestinian "refugee" problem indefinitely, thus blocking a potential resolution to the conflict.

That month the agency also announced the suspension of an UNRWA employee suspected of having been elected a Hamas leader.

He continued, "Israel is sending two messages". Netanyahu's calls could have major repercussions for the 450,000 Palestinian refugees registered with UNRWA in Lebanon and 174,422 now living in the country.

"I have made a simple proposal: UNRWA support funds need to be gradually shifted to the UNHCR, with clear criteria for supporting genuine refugees, not fictitious refugees as happens today under UNRWA", the Israeli prime minister said.

"We pay the Palestinians HUNDRED OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS a year and get no appreciation or respect", Trump tweeted.

Israel's Channel 10 television reported Friday that the United States had already frozen a payment to UNRWA, but a spokesman for the UN aid agency said Saturday that they "have not been informed directly of a formal decision either way by the U.S. administration".