Israeli officials hail US move to cut aid to Palestinian refugees
U.S. move to cut UNRWA funding and end Palestinian demand for right of return is an “important and historic step” in exposing the Palestinian refugee lie, Israeli minister says
(August 27, 2018 / Israel Hayom) Israeli officials welcomed reports Sunday indicating that U.S. President Donald Trump plans to act to end the Palestinian demand for a right of return and to cut hundreds of millions of dollars in funding for the U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees, a move they say is in line with Israeli policy.
A diplomatic official dismissed the criticism of a defense official who had been quoted as saying the U.S. decision “could set the area, which is already on the verge of a conflict, on fire.”
Jerusalem Affairs Minister Zeev Elkin welcomed the U.S. administration’s “justified decision,” saying it “finally speaks the truth to the Arab lie that has been marketed all over the world for decades.”
“The solutions for the challenges facing those currently living in various Arab countries can be found in those countries. There is no reason for them to dream of returning [here],” Elkin said.
“The State of Israel was, is and will always be the national homeland of the Jewish people, on the grounds of 2,000 years of history as well as its official status since the days of the Balfour Declaration.
“For many years, the UNRWA organization artificially perpetuated the Arab problem to use it as a tool to batter the State of Israel, and it should have long since passed from the world.
“This example [of the U.S. cutting aid] proves that when Israel believes in its path, and when the Israeli public unites behind our national interests, ultimately, the world concedes the truth and comes around to our position. That is happening now with the [Palestinian] right of return, it happened with the decision to relocate the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, and it will happen in other areas if we show enough determination.”
Science and Technology Minister Ofir Akunis also lauded the Trump administration for “finally putting an end to the Arab lie.”
“International aid funds do not help the Arabs of Judea and Samaria, but rather the corrupt leadership there. It aids the families of terrorists,” he said. “Exposing the administration’s plan to revoke the demand for the right of return is an important and historic phase in exposing the lie that has been prevalent for decades.”
Deputy Defense Minister Eli Ben-Dahan said, “The funds, which are undoubtedly going to fund the Hamas terror regime in Gaza instead of going toward rehabilitating the [Gaza] Strip, are used to produce rockets, dig terror tunnels and build up [Hamas’] terror forces that act against Israel and its citizens. The aid must be cut.”
Likud MK Sharren Haskel, who chairs the Knesset’s Lobby for Reform With UNRWA, accused the organization of “raising generations of refugees and straying from its original role of resolving the refugee problem.”
Referring to the fact that UNRWA assigns refugee status to the descendants of displaced individuals, Haskel said,”The organization’s definition of a refugee is unlike that of any other organization in the world.”