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Principale » Israeli PM calls for dismantling of UN Palestinian aid agency

Israeli PM calls for dismantling of UN Palestinian aid agency

12 Juin 2017

"The sanctity and neutrality of United Nations premises must be preserved at all times".

Netanyahu added that he had already conveyed the idea of shutting the agency down to US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley during her visit earlier this week.

He also said the agency's very existence "perpetuates and does not solve the Palestinian refugee problem".

The UNRWA was created by the Assembly in 1949 after thousands of Palestinians were displaced from their homeland in the creation of the state of Israel following the war in 1948.

"Therefore, the time has come to dismantle UNRWA and merge its components with the [UN] High Commissioner for Refugees", the premier added.

Speaking at his cabinet meeting, the PM said that the Arab refugees have their own separate agency which is connected to incitement against Israel, and which perpetuates the refugee problem rather than solve it - which is why it has to be dismantled and integrated into other United Nations agencies.

UNRWA runs hundreds of schools for Palestinian refugees in the Gaza Strip, the occupied West Bank, Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem, Lebanon, Jordan and Syria.

UNRWA spokesperson Chris Gunness responded by saying UNRWA has a clear mandate set by the United Nations.

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"In December 2016, UNRWA's mandate was extended for three years by the General Assembly by a large majority", Gunness told Reuters in an emailed statement.

Hamas has denied responsibility for the tunnel saying that it "strongly condemned" the UNRWA statement and it would be exploited by Israel to "justify its crimes". "The construction and presence of tunnels under U.N. premises are incompatible with the respect of privileges and immunities owed to the United Nations under applicable worldwide law, which provides that U.N. premises shall be inviolable".

Israel's Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon demanded that the UN Security Council condemn Hamas after UNRWA revealed that the terror organization dug a tunnel underneath two adjacent schools in the Gaza Strip.

Hamas took over the Gaza Strip ten years ago.

Hamas built tunnels under Gaza into Israel and Egypt to be used to smuggle food and water, and to be used to kidnap Israeli soldiers into Gaza.

The relief organization admitted that 20 rockets were found in one of its vacant schools in Gaza during the war and that they returned the deadly weapons to Hamas terrorists.

A spokesperson for the UNRWA stated on Friday that the underground structure "has no entry or exit points on the premises nor is it connected to the schools or other buildings in any way", and remarked that it will be quickly sealed.