Speaking with Sputnik Radio's Loud & Clear about Trump's threat to axe funding to the Palestinians, cofounder of The Electronic Intifada, Ali Abumimah, said it would be important to determine whether the funding cuts would hit UNRWA or the Palestinian Authority. He added that the organization "must disappear" because the Palestinians' right to return to Israel was a stance meant to eliminate the State of Israel. "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".
Government spokesman Yousef al-Mahmoud condemned calls by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for dismantling UNRWA as a way to end the Palestinian refugee issue.
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"This of course creates a situation where great-grandchildren of refugees who are not refugees are treated as such by UNRWA".
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.
PA President Mahmoud Abbas said last month that the Palestinians would seek full membership in the United Nations and ultimately apply to join all 522 official worldwide organizations in response to President Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital and announcement of plans to move the USA embassy to that city.
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The United States is the largest donor to UNRWA, with a pledge of almost $370 million as of 2016, according to the organization's website.
"We pay the Palestinians HUNDRED OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS a year and get no appreciation or respect", Trump tweeted.
"Should UNRWA disappear, Israel, the occupying power in the West Bank and Gaza, which is legally charged with the well-being of the civilian population in the territory, would assume greater responsibility for the over 2 million refugees in the territory which UNRWA supports", Yousef Munayyer, executive director of the U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights, told Newsweek. "This needs to be resolved by the parties to the conflict in the context of peace talks, based on United Nations resolutions and worldwide law, and requires the active engagement by the global community", Chris Gunness said.
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"What perpetuates the refugee crisis is the failure of the parties to deal with the issue".