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Closing UNRWA would be a disgrace

The targeting of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) and Israel's demand to close down its activities and services carry the shared objective of liquidating the Palestinian cause. More specifically, they are intended to liquidate the heart of the national Palestinian projects, the refugees' right of return. This is guaranteed by UN Resolution 194 for our people who were expelled forcibly from their land by the Zionist gangs that committed atrocities against them during and after the creation of the state of Israel.

The Zionist state does not want the refugee issue to remain a living witness to its crimes against our people. It does not want to accept and acknowledge its political and moral responsibility for them; nor does it want Palestinians to return to their homeland from exile and the refugee camps in which they are living under tragic conditions, lacking even the basic necessities. Instead, the Zionists want the Palestinian people to disappear and be resettled beyond their homeland, never to return.

Read: Israel uses 'tunnel' claim as an excuse to attack Hamas and UNRWA

Netanyahu's attack on UNRWA came after a visit by Nikki Haley — the extremist pro-Israel US Ambassador to the UN — to one of the Gaza tunnels discovered after Israel's military offensive known as "Operation Protective Edge". They walked through the tunnel, following which the Israeli prime minister announced that UNRWA needs to be closed down because Hamas dug a tunnel between two UNRWA schools and is thus using civilians as human shields.

UNRWA should definitely not be shut down, nor should its service provision for Palestinian refugees be stopped; nor, indeed, should it become part of the UN High Commission for Refugees as demanded by the occupation government. The situation of Palestinian refugees differs from that of other refugees who left their countries due to wars or ethnic and sectarian problems. Once those difficulties no longer pose a threat, they generally return to their countries, unlike Palestinians who face a colonial enemy who does not recognise our right to exist and covets our land upon which to expand its territory and plant illegal settlers.

#FreePalestine

Plans for the liquidation of our cause are underway and accelerating. The political stage being prepared for this may well include yet another war against the Gaza Strip in order to wipe out once and for all the resistance to the Zionist project. There will possibly be "agreements" within the same context which aim to reinforce the separation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, with a return to the era of Jordanian and Egyptian administration of the respective territories. This would serve the purpose of splitting the Palestinian land beyond Israel's "security" needs in the West Bank between Jordan and the PA within a federal framework. It would include an Israel-Palestine-Jordan economy built upon the legitimisation of the Israeli occupation as part of Netanyahu's so-called "economic peace", otherwise known as the "deal of the century". Furthermore, the criminalisation of the national Palestinian struggle — which is a right guaranteed by international laws and conventions for all people under occupation as they struggle for freedom and independence — by considering it to be "terrorism", is also intended to legitimise the occupation.

The liquidation and dismantling of UNRWA would be a disgrace for the UN. When the US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, said that "the days of Israel-bashing at the UN are over", she added that she wears high heels, not as a fashion statement, but to kick anything wrong that she sees. This makes a mockery of the international organisation that has become a convenience store for the US and Israel, to pop into and use only when its suits their interests and goals. It is strange that the UN responds to all of the US and Israel's demands, even without Haley having to use her high heels. What, I wonder, would happen to the UN if she does actually use them?

Translated from Palinfo, 20 June 2017

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.

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