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UNRWA rejects US bid to remove its mandate

Published : 24-05-2019

UNRWA rejects US bid to remove its mandate

The head of UNRWA, the United Nations agency that has supported Palestinian refugees for seven decades, has rebuffed a US proposal to have host countries take over the services it provides across the Middle East.

The suggestion, from US Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt at a UN Security Council meeting on Wednesday that UNRWA should be effectively dismantled was the latest US attack on an agency that began operations in 1950.

"We need to engage with host governments to start a conversation about planning the transition of UNRWA services to host governments, or to other international or local non-governmental organizations, as appropriate," Greenblatt said after the Security Council was briefed by UNRWA chief Pierre Krahenbuhl.

Asked at a Gaza news conference on Thursday about Greenblatt's remarks, Krahenbuhl said UNRWA's mandate was a matter for the entire UN General Assembly to consider, not by "one or two inpidual member states".

"Therefore, Palestinian refugees should remember that the mandate is protected by the General Assembly, and of course, we will engage with member states to ensure what we hope is a safe renewal of that mandate," Krahenbuhl said.

Since Trump assumed office in 2017, Palestinians have grown concerned that he intends to bring about UNRWA's demise.

Formerly UNRWA's largest donor, the US cut off its roughly $300m annual donation in 2018, deeming its fiscal practices "irredeemably flawed", stoking tensions between the Palestinians and US President Donald Trump's administration.

US ally Israel claims that the work of UNRWA only perpetuates the plight of Palestinians.

"Year after year, Palestinians in refugee camps were not given the opportunity to build any future; they were misled and used as political pawns and commodities instead of treated as human beings," Greenblatt told the Security Council.

Krahenbuhl however, rebuffed Greenblatt's criticism at a conference in Gaza saying UNRWA cannot be blamed for stalled peace efforts.

"I unreservedly reject the accompanying narrative that suggests that somehow UNRWA is to blame for the continuation of the refugee-hood of Palestine refugees, of their growing numbers and their growing needs," Krahenbuhl said in response to a question about Greenblatt's comments.

"The fact that UNRWA still exists today is an illustration of the failure of the parties and the international community to resolve the issue politically - and one cannot deflect the attention onto a humanitarian organization."

Short URL : https://www.actionpal.org.uk/en/post/8663

The head of UNRWA, the United Nations agency that has supported Palestinian refugees for seven decades, has rebuffed a US proposal to have host countries take over the services it provides across the Middle East.

The suggestion, from US Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt at a UN Security Council meeting on Wednesday that UNRWA should be effectively dismantled was the latest US attack on an agency that began operations in 1950.

"We need to engage with host governments to start a conversation about planning the transition of UNRWA services to host governments, or to other international or local non-governmental organizations, as appropriate," Greenblatt said after the Security Council was briefed by UNRWA chief Pierre Krahenbuhl.

Asked at a Gaza news conference on Thursday about Greenblatt's remarks, Krahenbuhl said UNRWA's mandate was a matter for the entire UN General Assembly to consider, not by "one or two inpidual member states".

"Therefore, Palestinian refugees should remember that the mandate is protected by the General Assembly, and of course, we will engage with member states to ensure what we hope is a safe renewal of that mandate," Krahenbuhl said.

Since Trump assumed office in 2017, Palestinians have grown concerned that he intends to bring about UNRWA's demise.

Formerly UNRWA's largest donor, the US cut off its roughly $300m annual donation in 2018, deeming its fiscal practices "irredeemably flawed", stoking tensions between the Palestinians and US President Donald Trump's administration.

US ally Israel claims that the work of UNRWA only perpetuates the plight of Palestinians.

"Year after year, Palestinians in refugee camps were not given the opportunity to build any future; they were misled and used as political pawns and commodities instead of treated as human beings," Greenblatt told the Security Council.

Krahenbuhl however, rebuffed Greenblatt's criticism at a conference in Gaza saying UNRWA cannot be blamed for stalled peace efforts.

"I unreservedly reject the accompanying narrative that suggests that somehow UNRWA is to blame for the continuation of the refugee-hood of Palestine refugees, of their growing numbers and their growing needs," Krahenbuhl said in response to a question about Greenblatt's comments.

"The fact that UNRWA still exists today is an illustration of the failure of the parties and the international community to resolve the issue politically - and one cannot deflect the attention onto a humanitarian organization."

Short URL : https://www.actionpal.org.uk/en/post/8663