PLO against disbanding UNRWA

Senior PLO official blasts Netanyahu's call to disband UNRWA following discovery of terror tunnels underneath its school.

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Dalit Halevi,

UNRWA HQ in Gaza
UNRWA HQ in Gaza
Flash 90

Zakaria al-Agha, a member of the executive committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), on Sunday condemned Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's call for the disbanding of UNRWA, after terror tunnels were discovered underneath one of its schools in Gaza.

Al-Agha noted that this is not the first time that Israel has sought to dismantle UNRWA over allegations that the UN agency incites against Israel and supports terrorism.

He added that the Palestinian people are devoted to a solution to the “refugee problem” in accordance with Resolution 194 of the UN General Assembly in the context of a comprehensive agreement that would include the establishment of a Palestinian state within the pre-1967 borders with Jerusalem as its capital. Until that time, argued al-Agha, UNRWA is committed to continuing its mission.

Speaking at the weekly Cabinet meeting earlier on Sunday, Netanyahu said he had spoken with the U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley and told her “that the time has come for the UN to re-examine UNRWA's existence.”

"Since the Second World War, the United Nation High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) has dealt with tens of millions of refugees. Yet, the Palestinians have their own committee, UNRWA, which publicly incites against Israelis,” Netanyahu continued.

"UNRWA eternalizes the Palestinian refugees' problem instead of solving it, and so we must disband UNRWA and integrate its different components into other UN commissions."

The discovery of a terror tunnel underneath an UNRWA school is not the first time that UNRWA has been found to be involved with Hamas.

During the 2014 counterterrorism Operation Protective Edge, Hamas rockets were discovered inside an UNRWA school building.

Likewise, a booby-trapped UNRWA clinic was detonated, killing three IDF soldiers. Aside from the massive amounts of explosives hidden in the walls of the clinic, it was revealed that it stood on top of dozens of terror tunnels, showing how UNRWA is closely embedded with Hamas.

More recently, it was revealed that Suhail al-Hindi, a Gaza employee of UNRWA, had been elected to Hamas's political bureau. UNRWA later dismissed Hindi.