Media reports on Sunday claimed the Trump administration will reject the Palestinian’s “right of return” as well as suspend its funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinians (UNRWA).
The reports claim the United States will officially reject the UNRWA’s definition of Palestinian refugees, combating the inflated number of Palestinian refugees claimed by the U.N. Of the U.N.’s claim of over 5.3 million Palestinian refugees, only half a million would be recognized.
Israeli media contended that the process would include “several steps” that would be announced in September. Reports also claim Israel would be asked to allow the UNRWA to operate in the West Bank as part of President Donald Trump’s peace plan.
The measures are in line with the Trump administration’s efforts in debunking and defunding the U.N.’s Palestinian agenda. The reports follow the U.S.’s announcement ahead of the weekend that it would cut $200 million in aid to the UNRWA.
In January, the Trump administration announced it would cut $65 million in funding for the agency. Shortly afterward, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, “The UNRWA is an organization that perpetuates the Palestinian refugee problem. It also perpetuates the narrative of the right-of-return, as it were, in order to eliminate the State of Israel; therefore, UNRWA needs to pass from the world.”
Palestine Liberation Organization Executive Committee official, Hanan Ashrawi, responded to the recent cuts to the agency. “There is no glory in constantly bullying and punishing a people under occupation. The U.S. administration has already demonstrated meanness of spirit in its collusion with the Israeli occupation and its theft of land and resources; now it is exercising economic meanness by punishing the Palestinian victims of this occupation.”
Earlier this month, reports surfaced that the U.S. is working to dismantle the UNRWA after email correspondence between President Trump’s special envoys to the Middle East, Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt, were released by Foreign Policy. The emails, written by Kushner, state that while it is “important to have an honest and sincere effort to disrupt UNRWA. This [agency] perpetuates a status quo, is corrupt, inefficient and doesn’t help peace. Our goal can’t be to keep things stable and as they are. Sometimes you have to strategically risk breaking things in order to get there.”
Amir spoke about these developments and much more during his most recent Middle East Current Events Update.
Amir Tsarfati, a Jewish Christian, is the founder and president of Behold Israel, a news site to correct the scarcity in trustworthy reportage on issues and events impacting Israel, and to resolve the uncertainty about who or what to believe.