WORLD Palestinians slam US UNRWA aid cut decision

WORLD

Palestinians slam US UNRWA aid cut decision

Xinhua

03:21, September 02, 2018

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(File photo: Xinhua)

RAMALLAH, Sept. 1 (Xinhua) -- The Palestinian government slammed on Saturday the US decision to cut financial aid to the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas spokesperson Nabil Abu Rudeinah said Abbas is considering going to the UN General Assembly and Security Council "to challenge the US decision," reported official Palestinian news agency (WAFA).

Meanwhile, the government spokesperson Yousef al-Mahmoud said in a press statement that the US decision "is rejected and condemned."

He said the decision is a grave flaw and fault by US President Donald Trump's administration "in service of the Israeli occupation and animosity towards the Palestinian cause."

The spokesman accused Washington of "making up hostility against our cause, people and leadership," and following the blind extremist policy that harmonizes with the Israeli occupation."

The US Department of State said in an official statement earlier Friday that "the United States is ending all funding for the UN's Palestinian refugee agency." It described UNRWA which offers humanitarian services to over 5 million Palestinian refugees in the region as "irredeemably flawed."

The US administration has "carefully reviewed" the issue and "will not make additional contributions to UNRWA," spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement.

Hanan Ashrawi on Saturday on behalf of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) described the US aid cut move as "inhumane and reckless."

The Palestinian refugees are "being victimized again" by the US administration, Ashrawi said.

Ashrawi warned that this step would lead to "the destabilization of the entire region and the creation of unimaginable suffering and hardship for the Palestinian refugees."

The United States is doing Israel's bidding and destroying the very foundations of peace and stability by taking all permanent status issues "off the table," including the right of return for refugees and occupied Jerusalem, Ashrawi added.

She called on international community to "shoulder their responsibilities towards Palestinian refugees and provide the necessary support and financial assistance UNRWA needs to fulfill its mandate."

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Malki condemned the US decision on UNRWA, saying "the United States will never succeed in dismantling the UN agency or marginalize the Palestinian refugees issue," WAFA reported.

"Palestine will work closely with Jordan to protect UNRWA since its role from birth was to provide assistance to the Palestinian refugees until the right of return or an acceptable agreement between the Palestinians and Israelis is reached," Malki said.

He urged his Arab counterparts "to do what they can to protect UNRWA from US bullying and to send a strong message to President Trump that the Arab states will continue to stand with the Palestinian cause in all its components."

UNRWA spokesperson Sami Mshasha said in a press statement that the US decision is "surprising, given that UNRWA and the United States renewed a funding agreement in December 2017 which had acknowledged the successful, dedicated and professional management of the agency."

The UNRWA also rejected being criticized as "flawed" in its work at schools, health and emergency programs, highlighting "the international state community, our donors and host countries have consistently praised UNRWA for its achievements and standards."

Saeb Erekat, PLO Executive Committee Secretary General said in an emailed press statement "we totally reject and condemn this American decision of stopping its funding to UNRWA."

Ahmad Abu Houli, member of the PLO in charge of the refugee department, said in an emailed press statement that "the UN members and the hosting states of UNRWA should immediately work on finding alternative donors instead of the United States."

Meanwhile, Sami Abu Zuhri, Hamas spokesman in Gaza also condemned the US decision of ending aid to Palestinian refugees' agency UNRWA and its attempts to make doubts over the Palestinians right of return.

UNRWA, initiated by the UN resolution 70 years ago, provides services to registered Palestine refugees in its five regions, namely Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, offering education, health care, relief, social services, infrastructure, camp improvement and microcredit.

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