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Why Trump's plan to shut UNRWA is not the solution

Instead of cutting US funds for the UNRWA or allocating them to states, the Trump administration should encourage phasing out the agency while implementing a comprehensive settlement of the Palestinian refugee issue.
Palestinian employee of United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) hold a sign during a protest against a U.S. decision to cut aid, in Gaza City January 29, 2018. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem - RC1CCE65B060

President Donald Trump claimed to have resolved the issue of Jerusalem’s future when he “took it off the table,” according to his disquieting declaration in January, by announcing US recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in December. With this matter supposedly behind him, Trump is now turning to the issue of the 1948 Palestinian refugees.

His envoy Jared Kushner is reportedly pushing to annul the refugee status of millions of Palestinians and shutter the UN agency tasked with their welfare. Just as US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, even if justified historically, only served to move the issue to center stage and sever Palestinian ties with the US administration, the attempt to unilaterally shut down the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) will only serve to deepen the enmity between the Palestine Liberation Organization, the United States and Israel.

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