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EU affirms support for UNRWA, issues thinly-veiled rebuke of Trump administration

Palestinian children stand next to bags of food aid provided by the UN agency for Palestinian refugees at their family home in the Gaza Strip on 24 January 2018 [Said Khatib/AFP/Getty Images]
Palestinian children stand next to bags of food aid in Gaza Strip on 24 January 2018 [Said Khatib/AFP/Getty Images]

The European Union (EU) has affirmed its support for embattled Palestinian refugee agency UNRWA, and issued a thinly-veiled rebuke of the Trump administration’s approach to Middle East peace, in a statement  delivered on Tuesday in New York at the United Nations Security Council.

In remarks read out by senior EU diplomat Gustavo Martin Prada, Brussels expressed concern that “the perspective of a two-state solution is being dismantled piece by piece”, citing a number of developments in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt).

The EU singled out for condemnation “the advancement in December 2018 of Israeli plans for over 2,000 settlement units and renewed plans to ‘legalise’ West Bank outposts”, as well as “the allocation of an area south of Bethlehem for the purpose of planning a new settlement”.

The EU also reaffirmed its support for UNRWA, which has faced intensified attacks at its funding and mandate by Israel and the United States.

US decision to cut UNRWA funding – Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

“Continued support by the international community for the important work done by UNRWA remains crucial,” read the statement.

“We are and will continue to be strong, reliable and predictable supporters of the Agency and we will strive to enable UNRWA to continue its operations until a just, fair, agreed and realistic solution to the final status issue of Palestine refugees is reached,” the EU added.

Although the prospects for a two-state solution look grim, the EU dismissed the idea that there is a “credible alternative”, adding: “This is why the EU remains committed to the internationally agreed parameters for a just and lasting peace in the Middle East based on international law, relevant UN resolutions including UNSC Resolution 1860 and 2334 and previous agreements.”

“To be successful, any peace plan should recognise these internationally agreed parameters,” the EU said, in an implied reference to reports about plans being considered by the Trump administration.

READ: Italy donates $1.7 million to UNRWA 

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