Netanyahu Wants UNRWA Abolished

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Netanyahu Wants UNRWA Abolished
by Stephen Lendman
Established in 1949, the UN Relief and Works Agency provides healthcare, education and other vital social services for millions of displaced Palestinians – in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, Gaza, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria.
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) provides similar services for refugees elsewhere.
During his Sunday cabinet meeting, Netanyahu argued against an agency focused specifically on aiding Palestinians, saying:
“The time has come to disband UNRWA and integrate it into the UNHCR. UNRWA, to a large degree, by its very existence, perpetuates – and does not solve – the Palestinian refugee problem.”
The obvious solution he and extremists infesting his regime reject is ending militarized occupation harshness, recognizing Palestinian self-determination on their own land in their own country, free from Israeli oppression – or agreeing to one state for all its people, Jews and Palestinians treated alike.
Instead, Netanyahu accused UNRWA of “considerable incitement against Israel,” the same blame game posturing his regime uses against any individual, group or nation criticizing rogue Israeli policies.
In response, UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness explained the General Assembly alone has authority over the agency’s mandate, saying last December it was extended for another three years “by a large majority,” adding:
“The situation of Palestine refugees needs to be resolved as part of a political resolution of the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. It is time for political action to resolve this long-standing crisis.”
UNRWA’s Gaza spokesman Abu Hasna said if agency services ended, providing 80% of humanitarian aid, “two million people will turn into Islamic State supporters.”
Separately, at Abbas’ request, Israel intends cutting the amount of electricity supplied to the Strip, exacerbating an ongoing power crisis.
Around 80% of Gaza’s electricity comes from Israel, the rest from Egypt. When all power sources are delivering at optimal levels, demand is double the amount of electricity supplied.
It’s enough for about 12 hours or less daily, worsening humanitarian crisis conditions, disrupting water pumping stations, sewage disposal and treatment facilities, along with compromising the ability of hospitals to operate properly.
Farmers haven’t enough water to irrigate crops. Factories, other business and residential households can’t function properly.
Lack of adequate sanitation and sewage disposal polluted offshore waters, increasing chances of illnesses and diseases.
The PA and Hamas disagree on cost, at times forcing Gaza’s sole power plant to curtail operations.
With Israel reducing what it supplies, hours of electricity will likely range from two to four daily, an untenable situation, heightening crisis conditions.
Gaza hasn’t had enough electricity since Israel blockaded the Strip in mid-2007.
The ICRC and UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) warned of devastating crisis conditions if things aren’t responsibly resolved.
Nothing in prospect suggests relief for long-suffering Gazans, the world community turning a blind eye in deference to Israel.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at
His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”
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Stephen Lendman
Stephen Lendman
Stephen Lendman was born in 1934 in Boston, MA. In 1956, he received a BA from Harvard University. Two years of US Army service followed, then an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in 1960. After working seven years as a marketing research analyst, he joined the Lendman Group family business in 1967. He remained there until retiring at year end 1999. Writing on major world and national issues began in summer 2005. In early 2007, radio hosting followed. Lendman now hosts the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network three times weekly. Distinguished guests are featured. Listen live or archived. Major world and national issues are discussed. Lendman is a 2008 Project Censored winner and 2011 Mexican Journalists Club international journalism award recipient.