Palestinians condemn US decision to end aid to UNRWA

Xinhua
The Palestinian authority has condemned the decision of the United States to stop funding the United Nations' Palestinian refugee agency.
Xinhua
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A Palestinian boy looks out from his camp at al_Shati refugee camp in Gaza City, Palestine on February 2, 2018.

The Palestinian authority has condemned the decision of the United States to stop funding the United Nations' Palestinian refugee agency.

"We totally reject and condemn this American decision of stopping its funding to UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East)," said Saeb Erekat, secretary general of the executive committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization, in a statement late Friday.

The US decision aims to close UNRWA which was founded on UN resolutions, Erekat said.

The US State Department said earlier Friday that "the United States is ending all funding for the UN's Palestinian refugee agency." It described UNRWA 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.

Ahmad Abu Houli, a PLO member in charge of the refugee issues, said in a statement that "the UN members and the hosting states of UNRWA should immediately work on finding alternative donors."

He said "the aim of the United States to end aid to UNRWA clearly shows that the United States has plans to end the agency and liquidate the Palestinian cause as well as practice pressure and political blackmail on the Palestinian people and their leadership."

Meanwhile, Sami Abu Zuhri, Hamas spokesman in Gaza, also condemned the United States for ending aid to UNRWA.

UNRWA provides services to about five million registered Palestine refugees in Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, including education, health care, relief, social services, infrastructure, and camp improvement.

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