JERUSALEM (AA) – Israel’s Jerusalem municipality has announced plans to remove the UN’s relief agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) from occupied East Jerusalem, the Israeli press has reported.
According to Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat has accused the agency of operating illegally and promoting anti-Israel “incitement”.
“Schools, clinics and sports centers, among other services operated by UNRWA in East Jerusalem, will be transferred to the Israeli authorities,” the newspaper quoted Barkat as saying.
The municipality has not provided a timeline for the transfer. But officials say several schools in East Jerusalem — which cater to 1,800 Palestinian students — would be closed by the end of the academic year.
According to Israel’s Channel Two, U.S. President Donald Trump's recent decision to end financial aid to UNRWA encouraged Israel to take the decision.
The plan was drafted in coordination with the U.S. administration and will soon be presented to the Israeli government for approval, the broadcaster reported.
In September, the U.S. State Department announced that Washington would “no longer commit funding” to UNRWA.
The U.S. had been UNRWA's largest contributor by far, providing it with $350 million annually — roughly one quarter of the agency's overall budget.
Established in 1949, UNRWA provides critical aid to Palestinian refugees in the blockaded Gaza Strip, the Israeli-occupied West Bank, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria.