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PA rejects Israel decision to use alternative to UNRWA schools in Jerusalem

Palestinians gather at the UNRWA building during a demonstration on September 17, 2019 in Gaza City, Gaza. ( Mustafa Hassona - Anadolu Agency )
Palestinians gather at the UNRWA building on 17 September 2019 in Gaza City, Gaza [Mustafa Hassona/Anadolu Agency]

The Palestinian Authority (PA) yesterday slammed an Israeli decision to use alternatives to UNRWA-run Palestinian schools in Jerusalem.

In a statement, the PA’s Ministry of Expatriates and Foreign Affairs said that the approval of the council of the Israeli municipality in Jerusalem to set-up education facilities to replace UNRWA schools is part of Israel’s war on the right of return.

The PA ministry also said that the Israeli measure is a “new step towards imposing the Israeli syllabus on Palestinians”, pointing out “this is part of the Israeli plans to Judaise the Palestinian city.”

On Tuesday night, the Israeli municipal council approved a plan to establish an educational campus run by the Israeli Education Ministry near the Arab neighbourhoods of Shu’afat and Anata in Jerusalem.

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According to the plan, the new facilities are meant to replace the schools established and being run by UNRWA.

The project, according to the London-based Al-Awda Centre, will cost 7.1 million shekels ($2 million), and will be located in an area outside the Green Line but run by the Israeli governed Jerusalem Municipality.

Member of Jerusalem Municipal Council Aryeh King thanked Mayor Moshe Lion for advancing the project, which seeks to diminish UNRWA’s presence in the city.

“We are not talking, we are acting,” King wrote on Facebook.

“While the previous mayor, Nir Barkat, published press releases for years about his plans to reduce UNWRA’s influence and involvement in eastern Jerusalem, the current Mayor, Moshe Lion, passed last night a decision of unprecedented importance. I salute you, Mayor.”

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