Israel steps up fight against UNRWA

A closed discussion was held a few weeks ago at the National Security Council in the Prime Minister's Office about the plan to remove UNRWA institutions from eastern Jerusalem, Channel 12 News reported on Saturday night.

According to the report, the motivation for this discussion was US President Donald Trump's decisions against the UN agency for “Palestinian refugees”.

The United States, the largest single contributor to UNRWA, announced last August that it would end its $350 million a year funding for the agency, describing the organization as an “irredeemably flawed operation”.

According to Saturday’s report, during the discussion in the Prime Minister’s Office, a dramatic decision was taken: To take in practice the plan of the former mayor of Jerusalem, Nir Barkat, regarding UNRWA institutions in the city, and to implement the part that relates to education as early as next year.

This means that UNRWA schools will no longer be given permits and licenses to operate in eastern Jerusalem and will be replaced by municipal schools. According to the report, there is already a plan to lease new buildings or, at least, to install temporary buildings that will serve as schools.

In this way, the National Security Council hopes that the process in which pupils in eastern Jerusalem will study under an Israeli framework will be completed. While there are obstacles in the form of elections, money, the municipality and the Ministry of Education, the decision has been made, according to the report.

Joan Lurie