Israeli Mayor of Jerusalem wants UNRWA expelled from city

Palestine

Published: 2018-10-18 11:34

Last Updated: 2018-10-18 12:10


UNRWA-Jerusalem in danger of exile
UNRWA-Jerusalem in danger of exile
Roya News Source

In an official press release, the Israeli Knesset stated, that the Israeli Internal Affairs Committee, discussed on Wednesday, October 17, 2018, a plan prepared by the Israeli Mayor of Jerusalem, Nir Barkat, to expel the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) from Jerusalem city.

The Agency runs Shu'fat Camp, the only camp in the city, in the north of East Jerusalem. It also runs clinics and schools in the city itself.

 

Shu'fat refugee camp. Photo by Christoph von Toggenburg

 

Barkat claimed that “children of Jerusalem are being taught under their care — terrorism,” adding that “this must stop.”

He continued saying, “the time has come to remove UNRWA from Jerusalem and replace their failing education, welfare, health and cleaning services with municipal services.”

”The time has come to stop this lie about refugees in Jerusalem,” adding, ”They are not refugees, but residents who need to receive services from the municipality like any other resident. Money is not an excuse. It costs us two percent of the city's total budget.”

“This is also the desire of the Arab residents themselves. US President Trump's decision to cut support to UNRWA created a window of opportunity for implementing a plan and putting an end to this historical distortion.” Barkat said. 

 

Barakat has already spoken out publicly about the existence of such a plan, but it is the first time that it has been discussed in the Knesset, indicating the seriousness of the issue, according to observers.

MK Yehuda Glick (Likud) said, “Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat’s decision to begin a process of removing the trash from Jerusalem must include this trash that is called UNRWA, a body which deals solely in incitement rather than education. They take people who want to integrate into Israeli society in Jerusalem, want to be a part of Israeli society, and encourage them not to integrate, not to move forward academically and stay behind. They teach them that Israel is the enemy.”

Attorney Oshrat Maimon, director of policy advocacy at the organization Ir Amim said at the meeting that “the municipality declared that it plans to build 2,400 classrooms in the next five years, but we found that there are only 800 construction plans. Every year, 13% of east Jerusalem students drop out and 33% of east Jerusalem children do not complete twelve years of schooling. The reason is classroom shortage.”

Back in August, 2018, Washington cut its support for UNRWA, after decades of being its first funder.