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Ministry of Education condemns Israeli plan regarding UNRWA

Oct. 6, 2018 4:26 P.M. (Updated: Oct. 7, 2018 12:18 P.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- The Palestinian Ministry of Education denounced Israeli plans to end services, including education, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) provides to Palestinian refugees in occupied East Jerusalem.

According to the ministry, UNRWA runs seven schools in East Jerusalem serving 1,800 students.

UNRWA also runs vocational training centers, playgrounds and health clinics.

The ministry warned, in a statement, of grave consequences on the life of the Palestinian refugees in the city if the Israeli municipality shuts down UNRWA operations in the city.

The Israeli mayor of Jerusalem, Nir Barkat, said that he is considering ending the presence and services of UNRWA to Palestinian refugees in occupied East Jerusalem and turning its services over to his municipality.

The ministry added that "This decision is part of an aggressive campaign launched by the Israeli occupation to Judaize the city of Jerusalem and erase its Palestinian identity, especially by targeting the education sector in the holy city."

"The decision is part of a series of malicious steps - in harmony with the US administration – that aim at ending UNRWA operations, which provide humanitarian and educational services to Palestinian refugees."

Early September, the United States had declared that it officially cut all funding to UNRWA, the decision would also be recognizing only half a million of a total of 5.3 million Palestinian part of a plot to end the refugee issue.

The Ministry of Education said that the decision to shut down UNRWA operations in Jerusalem is "a blatant defiance of the United Nations and its institutions."

The agency expressed "deep concern" over Barkat's statement, saying that "Such messaging challenges the core principles of impartial and independent humanitarian action and does not reflect the robust and structured dialogue and interaction that UNRWA and the State of Israel have traditionally maintained."

UNRWA was founded by the UN, following the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, to help resettle nearly 700,000 Palestinians after the Arab-Israeli war.

The agency currently provides essential services such as education, health care, and social services to some 5 million Palestinian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, the occupied Palestinian territories and the besieged Gaza Strip.

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