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Netanyahu pushes for gradual cut in U.S. funding to UNRWA

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Gaza8Jan4NAZARETH (PNIC):-Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he supports a gradual cutback of American funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA).

According to a Saturday report by Haaretz daily, Netanyahu’s bureau over the weekend said that the prime minister “supports a critical approach by President Trump and believes that practical steps must be taken to change the situation in which UNRWA perpetuates the Palestinian refugee problem instead of resolving it.”

According to the anonymous official, Israel prefers a gradual cutback of U.S. funding.

The Israeli official’s statement comes after U.S. President Donald Trump and his envoy to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, said that the United States would cut aid to the Palestinians if they did not return to the negotiating table.

The United States gives over $300 million a year to UNRWA, which constitutes one third of the agency’s budget. According to diplomats familiar with discussions on the matter, it is now mainly Haley who supports Netanyahu's suggestion, in keeping with the policy of penalties she declared after the vote in the UN General Assembly against Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Following the 1948 Arab-Israeli conflict, UNRWA was established by United Nations General Assembly Resolution 302 (IV) of 8 December 1949 to carry out direct relief and works programs for Palestine refugees. The Agency began operations on 1 May 1950. The Agency’s services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure, and emergency assistance.

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