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Palestinian Cabinet condemns US decision

Sept. 4, 2018 4:35 P.M. (Updated: Sept. 4, 2018 4:52 P.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- The Palestinian Cabinet condemned, during its weekly meeting, the Trump Administration decision to cut financial aid to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) and denounced Israeli threats to expel the agency from occupied Jerusalem and shut down its institutions, including schools, health clinics and service centers.

The Palestinian Cabinet, headed by Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, denounced the Trump administration decision to suspend its financial contributions provided to the UNRWA as another "blind attempt" to support the extreme Israeli right-wing narrative.

"Instead of acting to resolve the issue of Palestinian refugees upon the International Law and UN Resolutions, the Trump administration seeks to strip Palestinian refugees from their fundamental rights."

The Cabinet stressed that "such step will only boost Israel to continue its aggression and illegal crimes against the Palestinian people and worsen the disastrous humanitarian situation of the Palestinian refugees, especially in the Gaza Strip."

The Cabinet also condemned the statements made by the Israeli Mayor of Jerusalem, Nir Barakat, in which he confirmed his intention to present a plan in the near future to expel UNRWA from occupied Jerusalem and shut down all its institutions, including schools, health clinics and service centers.

"Such threats are a direct insult to the international community, the international humanitarian law, and to the Palestinian refugees who became victims to the establishment of the State of Israel."

The Cabinet asserted that "the Trump administration has no right to change the mandate, duties, and responsibilities of the UNRWA."

The Cabinet stressed that the United Nations General Assembly issued Resolution No. 302 of 1949 to establish the UNRWA to provide services to Palestinian refugees until a final solution is found based on the UN Resolution No. 194.

"UNGA resolution 194 guarantees the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes of 1948, and provides a property compensation for those who decide not to return."

It also stressed that "the Palestinian leadership will continue to preserve the rights of the Palestinian refugees and called upon the international community to take its responsibility towards the UNRWA through strengthening partnerships and raising financial contributions to overcome its current financial crisis."

"We call upon world countries to ensure the success of the international emergency fundraising conference on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York later this month."

The Cabinet commended the Commissioner General for the UNRWA, Pierre Kr henb hl for his letter to the Palestinian refugees and UNRWA staff, in which he emphasized on the protection of the rights of Palestinian refugees under the International Law, calling upon world governments to "challenge the American-Israeli threats and intervene immediately to prevent implementing them and maintain the integrity of the international legal and political systems."

The Cabinet hailed Germany for pledging to increase its funding to UNRWA and thanked the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy for urging the EU and other various countries to work towards a "sustainable financial basis" for the UNRWA.

The Cabinet welcomed the invitation of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan to hold a special session of the Arab Foreign Ministers on the sidelines of the Arab League Council meeting later this month in Cairo to discuss means of confronting the Trump administration decision to stop its contributions to the UNRWA, and covering the lack of financial support facing the agency.

The Cabinet deplored the threats of the US envoy to the Middle East, Jason Greenblatt, to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, which constitute a flagrant interference in the Palestinian internal affairs and expose attempts of the Trump administration to implement the so-called "Deal of The Century" in the Gaza Strip.

The Cabinet also warned against signing a unilateral cease-fire agreement with Israel, the occupying power that bypasses the Palestinian national legitimacy and leads to political separation between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, confirming that there is no alternative to the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), the sole and legitimate representative of the Palestinian people and that there will be no talks with the Occupying Power without ending the political division and creating a comprehensive national framework through one Palestinian national, legitimate Authority.

The Cabinet also "criticized the extensive settlement activities as illegitimate, illegal and fundamentally void. The Cabinet strongly condemned the Supreme Court of Israel for drafting a law that permits building settlements in private Palestinian land "if built in a good faith."

The Cabinet condemned the latest Israeli settlers' invasion against the "Prophet Yusuf Shrine" (Joseph's Tomb) and attacks against the Palestinian residents of Einabus and Urif villages, southwest of the northern West Bank district Nablus.

It also decided to form a national committee to prepare for the participation of the State of Palestine in Beijing's 2019 Horticultural Expo, as part of implementing the strategic plan to support the Agricultural Sector.
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