US calls to dissolve UNRWA, hand responsibilities to host countries

The US envoy to the Middle East, Jason Greenblatt, on Wednesday called for UNRWA to be dissolved and for countries which host Palestine refugees to take on the responsibility of caring for them on their soil.

Speaking at the UN Security Council, Greenblatt called on the international community to understand that “the UNRWA model has failed the Palestinian people”.

“We need to engage with host governments to start a conversation about planning the transition of UNRWA services to host governments, or to other international or local nongovernmental organisations, as appropriate,” he added.

Pierre Krahenbuhl, the commissioner general of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), rejected the US call saying it should not be singled out as a result of stalled peace efforts in the Middle East.

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“I unreservedly reject the accompanying narrative that suggests that somehow UNRWA is to blame for the continuation of the refugee-hood of Palestine refugees, of their growing numbers and their growing need,” Krahenbuhl said during a press conference held in Gaza yesterday.

The US administration of President Donald Trump suspended all funding to UNRWA last year, a move which Palestinians have said is an effort to eradicate the issue of Palestine refugees and their right of return.

UNRWA was established in 1949 to provide assistance and protection to Palestine refugees in Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.