UNRWA said it has closedown most of its operations in Jenin, a city located in central Samaria, because of threats for Palestinian Authority Arabs.
Arabs in UNRWA camps immediately condemned the shutdown of services, except for health matters, to 16,000 Arabs whom the United Nations relief agency terms ”refugees,” meaning descendants of Arabs who left what then was Israel in the War for Independence and the Six-Day War in 1967.
UNRWA officials said its staff had received threats, an allegation that local activists denied. The locals also charged that UNRWA has stopped hiring local Arabs, leaving them without income during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which ends in two weeks.
The United Nations agency, which deals only with Arab "refugees" from Israel while only one other UN agency deals with all the millions of current refugees the world over, has become increasingly unpopular in the Palestinian Authority, including Gaza, where agency officials were given four submachine guns last November following threats from Hamas. John Ging, the agency’s Gaza director, previously has said his life has been in danger in shooting attacks on food convoys.
UNRWA is responsible for millions of Arabs outside of Israel, encouraging their claims to return, but has now found itself in the unusual situation of publicly blaming an Arab country for killings Arabs who are defined as “Palestinians.”
UNRWA said Sunday it was "gravely concerned about the heavy gunfire from Syrian security forces in and around the Palestinian refugee camp situated in the El Ramel district of Latakia."
Arab countries have denied citizenship to the millions of Arabs who UNRWA says have the right to "return" to Israel, despite the fact that most are second and third generation descendants of those who left.
The UN agency has the responsibility of taking care of their housing and social needs, but the group's stateless situation since their forebears left 40 years, and in some cases 60 years, ago, has created an explosive situation that has bred terrorism and anger not only against Israel but also against the United Nations and the host Arab countries.