Israeli PM calls for dismantling of UN Palestinian aid agency

Benjamin Netanyahu made the statement two days after United Nations Relief and Works Agency said it had discovered part of a tunnel running under two of its schools in a refugee camp in the Gaza Strip.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley stands next to Danny Danon, Israel's Permanent Representative to the UN, as she tours what Israel says is a terror tunnel built allegedly by Hamas, near Israel's border with the Gaza Strip, June 8, 2017.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday called for the dismantling of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which aids millions of Palestinian refugees.

He accused the UN agency of incitement against Israeli, saying he had conveyed his message to the US ambassador to the UN.

In public remarks to his cabinet at its weekly meeting, Netanyahu said UNRWA perpetuated, rather than solved, the Palestinian refugee problem and that anti-Israeli incitement was rife in its institutions, which includes schools.

"It is time UNRWA be dismantled and merged with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees," Netanyahu said.

He made the statement two days after UNRWA said it had discovered part of a tunnel running under two of its schools in a refugee camp in the Gaza Strip.

UNRWA said it had protested to Hamas that rules the enclave and which had used a network of cross-border tunnels to launch attacks inside Israel in a 2014 war. It condemned the tunnel as a violation of neutrality. 

Hamas denied it was responsible for building it.

UNRWA was established by the UN General Assembly in 1949 after hundreds of thousands of Palestinians fled or were expelled from their homes in the 1948 war that followed Israel's creation.

It says it currently aids five million registered Palestinian refugees in the Middle East.

The US, Israel's main ally, was the biggest donor to UNRWA last year, pledging $368 million.

TRT World’s Iolo ap Dafydd reports from Gaza.

Source: 
TRTWorld, Reuters