Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called for the dismantling of the United Nations agency that aids millions of Palestinian refugees. Netanyahu is accusing the agency of “anti-Israeli incitement.”
After Israel’s leader said he had conveyed this message to the United States ambassador to the United Nations, Adnan Abu Hasna, a Gaza-based spokesman for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), said Netanyahu was pursuing a “fantasy”. And the United States likely cares little about the predicament either, as they seem to be playing both sides. Israel’s main ally, the US, was the biggest donor to UNRWA last year and pledged $368 million under Barack Obama’s administration. But the organization claims it’s helping 5 million registered Palestinian refugees with food and shelter.
Although all foreign aid should be ended anyway, and the United States should withdraw from the UN completely to regain some semblance of sovereignty, Netanyahu wants the UNRWA to be ended because of anti-Israeli sentiments being taught in the schools funded by the UN’s program.
Netanyahu made his comments 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, the Islamist group that controls the enclave and which had used a network of cross-border tunnels to launch attacks inside Israel in a 2014 war. UNRWA condemned the tunnel as a violation of neutrality. Hamas has denied responsibility for the tunnels creation.
“It is time UNRWA be dismantled and merged with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees,” Netanyahu said. Referring to a meeting he held in Jerusalem on Wednesday with Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the UN, Netanyahu said, “I told her it was time the United Nations re-examine UNRWA’s existence.” But that’s more than wishful thinking for Israel’s PM.
UNRWA was established by the U.N. 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. Chris Gunness, UNRWA’s chief spokesman, said in an email to Reuters that only the General Assembly, by a majority vote, could change the agency’s mandate. “In December 2016, UNRWA’s mandate was extended for three years by the General Assembly by a large majority,” he added.
But, not to be outdone, Abu Hasna, speaking in Hebrew on Israel Radio, also employed fear mongering to keep the cash flow coming in. He warned that if “UNRWA is gone” in the Gaza Strip, where apparently, people are solely dependent on the food, educational, and health services provided by the UN, “two million people will turn into IS (Islamic State) supporters.”
This conflict is one that seems to continue to get worse or remain stagnant rather than improve. As the world creeps toward a third world war, could this area and it’s violence be a critical juncture? Only time will tell. But Netanyahu isn’t likely to get his way, so it made little sense for Hamas to immediately play the fear-mongering IS card. But it’s probably all in the name of politics anyway.
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Contributed by Dawn Luger of The Daily Sheeple.