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Israel targets UNRWA in occupied Jerusalem

UNRWA's lifeline is decreasing due to the cuts made by the Trump administration [AlArabi21News/Twitter]
UNRWA's lifeline is decreasing due to the cuts made by the Trump administration - Cartoon [AlArabi21News/Twitter]

Heads of the parliamentary blocs of the Likud Party, Yisrael Beiteinu, the Shas party and the United Torah Judaism alliance, as well as the Jewish House and the New Right parties, have signed a bill aimed at banning the activities of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) in occupied Jerusalem.

A Likud MK and former Jerusalem’s mayor, Nir Barkat, presented a bill to ban UNRWA activities.

The UNRWA operates in Shu’fat camp north of occupied Jerusalem, in addition to running dozens of clinics, educational institutions and schools in the area.

The bill provides for prohibiting the Agency’s activity in Israel starting from 2020. Barkat claimed while submitting the draft law, that “the UNRWA is used as a platform to incite and indoctrinate hatred and violence against Israel and its Jewish population. The UN agency is teaching youngsters in the schools it supervises in Jerusalem anti-Semitic content, while the terrorists who killed children and women are being praised in the textbooks used in those educational facilities. ”

Barkat also claimed that the agency’s facilities in other places, such as Gaza, are exploited by the Palestinian factions to store missiles, to attack Israel; a charge which has been denied unequivocally by the UNRWA.

READ: Palestinians protest Israel’s closure of institutions in East Jerusalem

According to Barkat, the law aims to “implement Israeli sovereignty” in the city according to the “basic law: Jerusalem, the capital of Israel.”

He indicated: “The UNRWA is currently providing services to less than 2 per cent of the city’s Arab population.”

An Israeli channel reported that the White House is the primary driver of the long-term plan, which the occupation municipality in Jerusalem calls “the plan of action to eliminate the refugee problem in the city.” The steps taken by US President, Donald Trump, against the Palestinian inhabitants of the occupied city have encouraged the Israeli authorities to move forward in its scheme to ban the UNRWA.

Earlier this year, the Israeli occupation decided to shut down the UNRWA-run facilities in occupied Jerusalem starting from the current school year. According to Channel 13, the decision was the outcome of a secret meeting held by the National Security Council (NSC) in the office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu; aiming at approving a plan to shut down and expel UNRWA-run institutions from occupied Jerusalem. The project, which was adopted by the NSC, has also been approved by the Jerusalem municipality earlier.

A few days ago, UNRWA spokesman, Sami Mushasha, said that the UN agency was not informed about the decision to close the schools under its supervision in Jerusalem.

READ: UNRWA faces ‘worst financial crisis in memory’

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International OrganisationsIsraelMiddle EastNewsPalestineUN
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