RAMALLAH, Oct. 6 (Xinhua) — The Palestinians warned on Saturday against an Israeli scheme to prevent the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) from operating its services in East Jerusalem.
Ahmad Holy, member of Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Executive Committee, said that Israel is obliged to respect the UN and international organizations, urging the UN to take a firm stance to prevent Israel from threatening the UN agency.
Israeli Mayor of Jerusalem Nir Barakat reportedly said that he will drive the UNRWA out of the city by finding alternatives to all UNRWA services, according to Israeli media reports.
UNRWA expressed concern over Barakat’s statement on Friday.
Meanwhile, Palestinian Ministry of Education also slammed the Israeli reports, warning of “grave consequences” on the Palestinian refugees in the city if Israel insists on shutting down UNRWA operations.
“The move of Jerusalem municipality is an aggressive campaign to Judaize the city of Jerusalem and erase its Palestinian identity,” said the ministry.
For nearly five years, the UNRWA has been dealing with increased financial problems due to the rising demand from the growing population of registered Palestinian refugees and their deteriorating situation.
The United States has recently decided to cut off all financial aid to the UN agency, putting it at a serious risk of suspending its operation in the region.
UNRWA is the oldest and largest relief organization. It was established in 1949 and mandated to provide assistance and protection to some 5.4 million Palestine refugees.