'We support funding to PA, but not through UNRWA'

Senior officials in the Prime Minister's Office say U.S. aid cut from UNRWA should be transferred to those who will make good use of it.

Elad Benari, Canada ,

Arab woman outsides UNRWA headquarters in Gaza
Arab woman outsides UNRWA headquarters in Gaza

Senior officials in the Prime Minister's Office said on Friday evening that Israel supports the American move to stop funding for UNRWA, the UN agency for “Palestinian refugees”, but believes that a way must be found to transfer the money to other organizations or parties so that they can be used properly.

"Israel supports the American move. The fixation of the Palestinian refugees by UNRWA is one of the main problems perpetuating the conflict,” said the officials.

“It would be worthwhile to divert the money to other parties who will make good use of it for the welfare of the population and not for perpetuating the refugees,” they added.

The comments follow a report in The Washington Post earlier on Friday which said that President Donald Trump will announce in September his decision to end all funding to UNRWA.

In addition to cutting funds to UNRWA, the White House is expected to take the Palestinian Authority's insistence on the "Right of Return" for Arabs off the negotiating table and insist the organization slash the number of Arabs recognized as refugees.

Trump will also request that Israel prevent UNRWA from operating in Judea and Samaria, in order to prevent Arab states from replacing the U.S. funding with their own.

The United States announced in January it would cut some of its funding to UNRWA, citing a need to undertake a fundamental re-examination of the organization, both in the way it operates and the way it is funded.

The organization has since received pledges of $100 million in additional funding from Qatar, Canada, Switzerland, Turkey, New Zealand, Norway, Korea, Mexico, Slovakia, India and France as a means of making up for the aid that was cut by Washington.

UNRWA recently said it had managed to pay salaries and provide some services, but also said there was still a large budget deficit of $256 million.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)