Netanyahu Calls for Shutdown of UNRWA

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UNRWA spokesman Sami Mushasha said in a statement that "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 United Nations resolutions and worldwide law as well as active involvement from the global community".

Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday told his Cabinet that the U.N. Relief Works Agency (UNRWA), which is responsible for aiding Palestinian refugees, perpetuates the problem and should be shut down.

Last week, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley said that President Donald Trump wants to pull the plug on funding for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) if Palestinians do not return to negotiations with Israel.

Ashrawi said further the Palestinians "will not be blackmailed".

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"Prime Minister (Benjamin Netanyahu) supports a gradual cut to UNRWA", said the senior Israeli official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The agency says there are 5 million refugees eligible for its services.

Netanyahu warned against rendering aid to the "great-grandchildren of refugees, who are not refugees, but who are cared for by UNRWA".

"This absurd situation must be ended", Netanyahu said.

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Chris Gunness, an UNRWA spokesman, said the refugee crisis was being perpetuated by "failure of the parties to deal with the issue..."

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) said on Monday that its mandate comes only from the United Nations General Assembly, which created it in 1950 following the Palestinians' dispersion from their homeland with Israel's creation by a UN resolution in 1947.

"This needs to be resolved by the parties to the conflict in the context of peace talks, based on United Nations resolutions and global law".

Trump also threatened last week to cut aid to the Palestinians, and Netanyahu offered him praise in his own comments Sunday. Today, more than 1.5 million Palestinians live in refugee camps in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

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It also distributes aid and provides teacher training centers, health clinics and social services.

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