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Israel stands in the way

Jan 15,2018 - Last updated at Jan 15,2018

True to form, Israel wants the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) "liquidated" and its functions transferred to the UNHCR. 

That is exactly what the Israeli government has officially called for from the UN.  It is not hard to figure out why Israel wants UNRWA to close shop since it is by nature anathema to anything that has to do with the Palestinians or their rights especially when UNRWA's very existence is a constant reminder that the Palestinian case has yet to be settled and Palestinian refugees are still waiting for repatriation to their original homeland.  

UNRWA was created by a UN General Assembly resolution back in 1949  to provide basic relief services to the Palestinian refugees and their descendants. The resolution was unanimously supported by the UN member states including Israel with only Russia and South Africa abstaining. 

The UN agency offers services to the Palestinians driven out of their homes during the 1948 war that created Israel and those who were expelled  from the West Bank during the 1967 war between Israel and its neighbouring Arab countries. 

What UNRWA provides to the Palestinians, numbered around 5 million and scattered in Gaza, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and the West Bank, are strictly humanitarian services covering basic refugee needs such as education, health, social assistance, rudimentary housing and emergency needs. 

Why Israel wants these services terminated at a time when the Palestinian-Israeli conflict remains unresolved and the affected refugees still live in camps away from their homeland in anticipation of the time when they can be repatriated to their original towns and cities in what is Israel now or the West Bank?  


Relevant UN resolutions affirm that the Palestinian refugees have a right to return to their homeland or accept compensation. This right has yet to be implemented because Israel stands in the way and would rather see the refugees live permanently in neighbouring Arab countries. It seems that Israel is allergic to anything that has to do with the Palestinian people or their rights. The international community must not allow Israel to get away with its ill-advised submission that the UN agency needs to cease and desist from offering services to the Palestinian refugees.

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