Photo Credit: Lapo Pistelli via Flickr
UNRWA officials celebrating in a school run by the agency

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday morning called for the dismantling of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). Speaking at his cabinet meeting, the PM said that the Arab refugees have their own separate agency which is connected to incitement against Israel, and which perpetuates the refugee problem rather than solve it – which is why it has to be dismantled and integrated into other UN agencies.

The PM told the cabinet that “a Hamas tunnel has recently been discovered under two schools in the Gaza Strip. Hamas is using schoolchildren as human shields and this is the enemy that we have been fighting against for many years, an enemy that is committing a twofold war crime. On the one hand, it first attacks innocent civilians and then hides behind children. On Friday I instructed the Foreign Ministry Director General to file an official protest against Hamas at the UN Security Council.”


Netanyahu then confided: “Last week I met with US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley. I thanked her, on your behalf as well, for her sharp words in favor of the State of Israel and against the anti-Israel obsession at the UN. I told her that the time has come for the UN to reconsider the continued existence on UNRWA.”

“Since World War Two, there have been – and continue to be today – millions of refugees,” Netanyahu stated, adding, “And these millions have the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), while most of the Palestinian refugees are settled and have a separate commission. This is UNRWA; it has its own institutions and considerable incitement against Israel. I regret that UNRWA, to a large degree, by its very existence, perpetuates – and does not solve – the Palestinian refugee problem. Therefore, the time has come to disband UNRWA and integrate it into the UNHCR.”

About two months ago, all 100 US Senators signed a letter calling on UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres to “act against the anti-Israel bias” in the UN, and demanding extensive reforms in UNRWA.

Ambassador Haley said during her visit to Israel last week that “the UN is bullying Israel, simply because it can,” and noted that “We’re starting to see a change, I think they know they can’t go on responding as they have done until now, they feel that the tone has changed.”


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