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Will Trump and Israel Cut Off Aid to Millions of Palestinian Refugees?

Will Trump and Israel Cut Off Aid to Millions of Palestinian Refugees?

Israel also objects to the agency's method of classifying refugees, with descendants also eligible to register.

"I have made a simple proposal: UNRWA support funds need to be gradually shifted to the UNHCR, with clear criteria for supporting genuine refugees, not fictitious refugees as happens today under UNRWA", the Israeli prime minister said. "It also perpetuates the narrative of the so-called "right of return" with the aim of eliminating the State of Israel, and therefore UNRWA must disappear".

The Israeli Prime Minister said that practical steps must be taken to change the situation in which "UNRWA perpetuates the Palestinian refugee problem instead of resolving it". Now it is limited to those who reside in UNRWA's "areas of operation in the Palestinian territories (West Bank and Gaza Strip), Lebanon, Jordan and Syria", UNRWA's website says.

Israel is deeply critical of UNRWA, charging that the organization harbors terrorists and perpetuates the Palestinian "refugee" problem indefinitely, thus blocking a potential resolution to the conflict.

Issues about the agency's funding were sparked on January 3, when U.S. President Donald Trump and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley threatened to axe aid funding for Palestinians.




The Israeli leader said he first raised the issue with Washington's United Nations envoy Nikki Haley in June.

Trump threatened earlier this week to withhold future aid payments to the U.N. Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) over what he called the Palestinians' unwillingness to talk peace with Israel.

The United States has long provided the Palestinian Authority with much-needed budgetary support and security assistance, as well as an additional $304 million for UN programs in the West Bank and Gaza.

On Friday, in a report denied by a State Department official, the Axios news site said Washington had frozen $125 million in funding for UNRWA. For example, Breitbart Jerusalem reported last week that the agency was unable to confirm whether its statistic of 500,000 was a true reflection of the number of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon when that country's own bureau of statistics cites 175,000 - almost two thirds less than UNRWA's number.

It also distributes aid and provides teacher training centers, health clinics and social services.

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