Alwaght- The head of the United Nations organization for Palestinian refugees on Thursday rejected a US call to dismantle the agency.
UNRWA’s Commissioner General Pierre Krahenbuhl rebuffed the criticism from US envoy Jason Greenblatt during a visit to the Gaza Strip.
“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 needs,” he said.
“The fact that UNRWA still exists today is an illustration of the failure of the parties and the international community to resolve the issue politically,” he said in Gaza City.
Washington last year froze its roughly $300 million annual donation to UNRWA.
"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 non-governmental organizations, as appropriate," Greenblatt said after the Security Council was briefed by UNRWA chief Pierre Krahenbuhl.
Asked at a Gaza news conference on Thursday about Greenblatt's remarks, Krahenbuhl said UNRWA's mandate was a matter for the entire UN General Assembly to consider, not by "one or two individual member states".
"Therefore, Palestinian refugees should remember that the mandate is protected by the General Assembly, and of course, we will engage with member states to ensure what we hope is a safe renewal of that mandate," Krahenbuhl said.
UNRWA says it provides services to about five million registered Palestinian refugees across Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and the occupied West Bank and Gaza, and that it safeguards and advances their rights under international law.
Most are descendants of about 700,000 Palestinians who were driven out of their homes or fled in the 1948 war that led to the creation of the illegal Israeli entity and demand a right of return to the lands they left.
The Israeli regime has ruled out such a return, fearing the country would lose its Zionist majority. Palestinian leaders reject settling refugees in host countries, saying their presence there should be considered temporary.
Palestinians in host countries complain of restrictions on jobs and benefits there.