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December 27, 2020 2:07 pm

Report: Israel and UAE Working on Plan to Shutter UN Palestinian Refugee Agency

avatar by Algemeiner Staff

View of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) building in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip. Photo: Abed Rahim Khatib / Flash90.

The United Arab Emirates and Israel are reportedly formulating a plan to phase out the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), the UN organization dedicated to dealing with, and some say perpetuating, the Palestinian refugee problem.

According to leading French daily Le Monde, both the UAE and Israel would like to eventually see the controversial agency shuttered.

The publication’s Middle East correspondent, Benjamin Barthe, said on Twitter that the plan being worked on by officials seeks to gradually end the UN organization in a manner that will not be contingent on solving the issue of Palestinian refugees.

Barthe also pointed out that the UAE has been one of UNRWA’s major funding sources since US President Donald Trump cut off the flow of dollars to the organization. The UAE stepped in along with Qatar and Saudi Arabia to fill the funding gap. But in 2020 the UAE also effectively turned off the spigot, giving only token amounts to UNRWA.

UNRWA has long been controversial, with critics saying that it keeps the refugees in a state of continuing poverty and discontent, discourages their settlement in other countries, collaborates with terrorism, and engages in constant anti-Israel incitement. As recently as 2014, an UNRWA school was found to be harboring weapons used by the Hamas terror group in Gaza.

In particular, critics point to the fact that UNRWA considers the descendants of the original refugees from the 1948 Arab-Israeli war to be refugees as well; something that is not the case with any other refugee population in the world.

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