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US Haley questions Palestinians' right of return

Aug. 29, 2018 5:49 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 31, 2018 10:53 A.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- United States Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, questioned the actual number of Palestinian refugees during an interview at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

Haley agreed with the interviewer, who suggested that the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) over counted the number of Palestinian refugees.

According to UNRWA counts, the total number of Palestinian refugees demanding the right of return is currently 5.3 million Palestinians.

It is noteworthy, that the right of return is one of the core issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Palestinians claim that about 5.3 million Palestinians, including tens of thousands of refugees who fled in the1948 and 1968 wars from what is now known as Israel, and their descendants, have a right of return to their homes.

Haley said "we will be a donor if UNRWA reforms what it does, if they actually change the number of refugees to an accurate account, we will look back at partnering them."

Haley also questioned the right of return to Israel, claimed by the Palestinians as part of any eventual peace settlement.

When Haley was asked whether the right of return should be "off the table," Haley responded by saying "I do agree with that and I think we have to look at this in terms of what's happening with refugees in Syria, what's happening in Venezuela."

Haley also mentioned the "monthly Israel bashing sessions" at UN meetings, noting "I knew that there was a bias against Israel, but I hadn't really put a lot of thought into it until I attended the first session. When I saw literally how abusive all of those countries were being to Israel in a way that was pathetic, really, I had no choice but to get up and say this is completely wrong."

"They're supposed to be sessions on the Middle East, not sessions on Israel. So now we're actually making them talk about other areas in the Middle East and how we're dealing with those."

She explained "and now frankly they're scared to say anything negative about Israel because they don't want me to yell at them."

Haley concluded with mentioning a part of her meeting with US President Donald Trump and said "I went to the president one day and I gave him a book. In that book, I showed him every country and the money we give them and then I showed him the voting sheet and all those things, and I said at some point—What we should do is, the countries that we give money to, do they believe what we believe? Are they still actually wanting to be our partner and work with us? If they're not and they're shouting, 'death to America,' why would we give them a single penny?"

Earlier this year, the US Donald Trump administration decided to cut its aid to UNRWA to $60 million instead of about $350 million, which is a third of the agency's budget, according to UNRWA's website.
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