Barkat suggests Jerusalem Municipality take over health, education, welfare, sanitation services to all Jerusalem Arabs
According to reports by Hadashot TV news on Saturday, Israel National Security Council has decided that starting next school year, permits to UNRWA schools will be revoked.
UNRWA, short for, United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Refugees in the Near East, works for the UN to provide education, health care and social services to Palestinian Arabs living Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, the Gaza Strip, Judea and Samaria, as well as Jerusalem. They are mostly funded by European countries and the United States, receiving millions of dollars from multiple countries.
Hadashot TV news said the decision to revoke the permits came after United States President Trump announced that the US will be cutting close to $300 million from the agency.
Former Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat proposed to expel UNRWA from Jerusalem. Instead, the Jerusalem Municipality would provide health, education, welfare and sanitation services to all the Arab neighborhoods in Jerusalem.
Last October, Barkat stated, “The US decision to stop funding UNRWA creates a rare opportunity to deal immediately and decisively with the PA’s intention to perpetuate the ‘refugee problem’ and encourage incitement.”
He then added, “There are no refugees in Jerusalem, only residents. They will receive their services from the Jerusalem Municipality alone, like all residents.”
While Palestinian Arabs living in Jerusalem hold Israeli residency cards, they are not official Israeli citizens. They have complained that there is discrimination by the municipality against them when it comes to services.
Barkat said his proposal for the municipality services taking over “will be far superior to those that UNRWA provided.” He accused the UN agency of failing the 20,000 Arab residents living in the Shuafat refugee camp.
Israel has logged multiple complaints against the agency for using UNRWA schools and ambulances to hold Hamas weapons.
UN Watch has found that at least 10 UNRWA employees used social media to incite stabbing and shooting attacks against Israelis.
UNRWA has yet to comment on the Israel National Security Council’s decision.
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