Israel praises US for cutting off funds to UN agency aiding Palestinian refugees

Israel praises US for cutting off funds to UN agency aiding Palestinian refugees
© Greg Nash

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised the U.S. on Saturday for withdrawing funds from the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which aids Palestinian refugees.

“The U.S. did something very important by stopping the funding for the refugee perpetuation agency known as UNRWA,” Netanyahu said, according to The Times of Israel. “It is finally starting to solve the problem. The funds must be taken and used to genuinely help rehabilitate the refugees, whose true number is a fraction of the number reported by UNRWA.”

“This is a very welcome and important change, and we support it,” Netanyahu added.

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A spokesman for Israel's foreign ministry, Emmanuel Nahshon, tweeted out additional support for the decision on Sunday, calling the UNRWA an illegitimate body that only aims to destroy Israel.

The Trump administration announced Friday that it would be cutting funds to the UNRWA.

“The U.S. will no longer commit further funding to this irredeemably flawed operation,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement.

“We are very mindful of and deeply concerned regarding the impact upon innocent Palestinians, especially school children, of the failure of UNRWA and key members of the regional and international donor community to reform and reset the UNRWA way of doing business,” she added.

A spokesman for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, Nabil Abu Rudeineh, attacked the U.S. decision, saying on Saturday that it “does not serve peace but rather strengthens terrorism in the region.”