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Arab League Drafts Response To Trump's Jerusalem Decision

10 January 2018

The comments come in the wake of Donald Trump's announcement in December that the USA unilaterally recognises Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

For example, Breitbart Jerusalem reported last week that the agency was unable to confirm whether its statistic of 500,000 was a true reflection of the number of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon when that country's own bureau of statistics cites 175,000 - almost two thirds less than UNRWA's number.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has privately urged Trump not scale back UNRWA's funding, the Times of Israel reported Thursday.

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His office said he "supports President Trump's critical attitude towards UNRWA and believes practical steps need to be taken in order to change the fact that UNRWA is being used to entrench the Palestinian refugee problem instead of solving it".

Al-Mahmoud expressed surprise at Netanyahu's claim that the Palestinian right of return aims at eliminating Israel, describing it as incitement. "Great-grandchildren of refugees, who are not refugees, but who are cared for by UNRWA", should not receive aid, he said Sunday. "This absurd situation must end".

"UNRWA is an organization that perpetuates the problem of the Palestinian refugees", he added. "This needs to be resolved by the parties to the conflict in the context of peace talks, based on United Nations resolutions and worldwide law, and requires the active engagement by the global community", Chris Gunness said.

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"UNRWA is mandated by the General Assembly to continue with its services until a just and lasting solution is found for the Palestine refugees", Gunness said in a statement.

The U.S.is UNRWA's single largest donor, providing about $300 million annually. The total amount it has received from the USA since 1994 has run up to $5 billion.

Reinforcing national unity, reinvigorating non-violent popular resistance against the Israeli occupation and activating the Palestinian Central Council (PCC) will also be addressed during the meeting, Zanoun added.

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The fate of Jerusalem has been a focal point of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for decades, with numerous tensions arising over Israeli threats regarding the status of non-Jewish religious sites in the city, and the "Judaization" of East Jerusalem through settlement construction and mass demolitions of Palestinian homes.

Arab League Drafts Response To Trump's Jerusalem Decision