Senior PA official attacks Ambassador Erdan

Head of PLO's "refugee department" rejects Erdan's claim that the UN's failure to resolve the conflict stems from its support for UNRWA.

Dalit Halevi ,

Gilad Erdan
Gilad Erdan
Moshe Biton

Ahmad Abu Holi, a member of the PLO Executive Committee and head of the “Refugee Department”, said on Thursday that the UN's failure to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict stems from the denial of Israeli governments of the “right of return”.

Abu Holi's remarks were made in response to Israeli Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan, who said that one of the main reasons for the UN's failure to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict stems from its support for UNRWA.

He claimed that Israel is responsible for the ongoing conflict in the region because of its opposition to the return of “Palestinian refugees” to their homes and not because of UN support for UNRWA.

Erdan’s statement, claimed the PLO official, was made in the context of the “Israeli attack” on UNRWA and Israel's attempt to end UNRWA's role and eliminate the refugee problem.

He noted that Israeli policy does not affect the donor countries that voted by an absolute majority in December 2019 to renew UNRWA's mandate until June 2023.

Abu Holi also rejected Erdan’s claims that UNRWA inflates the number of refugees by granting refugee status to descendants of 1948 refugees. Erdan, he charged, seeks to repeal the recognition of 5.6 million descendants of 1948 refugees and deny them the right of return.

PA leaders have long conditioned peace with Israel on the “right of return”, which would see millions of Arabs who fled Israel in 1948 and their descendants flood Israel.