US calls to dismantle UNRWA

US Special Envoy Jason Greenblatt calls for UNRWA services to be transitioned to host governments in the Middle East.

AFP,

Jason Greenblatt
Jason Greenblatt
Reuters

The United States called Wednesday for dismantling UNRWA, weeks before unveiling the economic aspects of its long-awaited Middle East peace plan.

Addressing the UN Security Council, US adviser Jason Greenblatt said UNRWA was a "bandaid" and that it was time to hand over services assured by the UN agency to countries hosting the Palestinian Arab refugees and NGOs.

"The UNRWA model has failed the Palestinian people," Greenblatt told the council.

Last year, President Donald Trump's administration cut all funding to UNRWA, arguing that it was flawed as Washington pressed ahead with work on proposals for an Arab-Israeli solution

Greenblatt, who along with Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner is drafting the peace proposals, said it was time to "start a conversation about planning the transition of UNRWA services to host governments, or to other international or local non-governmental organizations, as appropriate."

Founded in 1949, UNRWA provides education and health services to some five million refugees and their descendants in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, the Gaza Strip and Judea and Samaria. The organization has faced criticism for expanding the definition the refugee to include all descendants of refugees regardless of whether they have received citizenship in another country.

The United States will hold a conference in Bahrain next month focused on the economic aspects of the peace plan that Greenblatt said has the "potential to unlock a prosperous future for the Palestinians."

"It would be a mistake for the Palestinians not to join us. They have nothing to lose and much to gain if they do join us. But it is, of course, their choice," he added.




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