PLO Executive Committee Member Dr. Hanan Ashrawi strongly condemned Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s demand to shut down UNRWA and said:
“Netanyahu’s call to disband UNRWA is the epitome of arrogance, particularly since Israel itself is responsible for creating the Palestinian refugee problem.
UNRWA is a United Nations institution established by UNGA Resolution 302 (IV) of 8 December 1949 to carry out direct relief and works programs for Palestinian refugees. Israel should not be allowed to dictate how to change the legal system and to persist with its unlawful unilateralism.
The Israeli government bears a moral and legal responsibility for Palestinian refugees and the serious injustices of the past. It should not be permitted to defame or slander UNRWA which still remains a lifeline for millions of Palestinian refugees residing in Occupied Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria, providing them with essential services, assistance and opportunities for work, growth and development.
UNRWA has also given the refugees a sense of hope and contributed effectively to regional stability. Any developments that endanger the existence of UNRWA and its mandate threaten to destabilize the whole region.
It is high time that the plight of the Palestinian refugees is recognized by the international community and resolved in accordance with international law and conventions, particularly by implementing UNGA resolution 194. Until then, it is crucial that UNRWA remains in operation to fulfill its mandate.”