Depriving Palestinian refugees of their basic rights a recipe for trouble, says PLO official

RAMALLAH, Depriving 5.3 million Palestinian refugees of their right to education, health and work by dismantling the international agency that has been taking care of them since their forced dispersion in 1948 is an invitation for trouble not only in Palestine, but also in the region where the Palestinian refugees are based, Hanan Ashrawi, member of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), said on Wednesday.

She accused the United State of being extremely cruel when it decided last month to stop $360 million in annual contribution to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) in a bid to end its role and eventually end the refugee issue.

Ashrawi accused the administration of US President Donald Trump of working to serve Israel’s interest and doing things that Israel itself would have never thought of doing.

They (the Americans) have taken concrete steps that even Israel would not implement, totally destroying all components of peace and credibility, she said, adding that the US, with its bashing Palestine efforts, is defying international humanitarian law and waging a war against international bodies such as the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the UN Human Rights Council because the Palestinians seek their intervention to protect them and their rights.

The PLO official said that as part of its efforts to dismantle UNRWA and end the refugee issue, the US administration is trying to talk to Arab countries to re-settle the refugees in their land but that none of the host countries, namely Jordan, Syria and Lebanon, have agreed to this.

Ashrawi said that the PLO is considering ending its ties with the American Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) after the US has cut all other humanitarian aid to the Palestinians but kept only aid to the security forces as part of its efforts to insure Israel’s security.

She said the Palestinians are also considering many other options to counter the US measures against them that included, in addition to stopping funding of UNRWA, stopping $200 million to economic projects and $20 million to Palestinian hospitals in East Jerusalem, and closing the PLO office in Washington.

These options include taking the US to the International Court of Justice over its recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, which she said was a grave violation of international law and resolutions.

Ashrawi said that on the eve of the 25th anniversary of the signing of the Oslo accords in Washington in 1993, the situation today is at its lowest point ever since 1948.

She said the hopes generated with Oslo were quickly dashed by Israel’s actions and its failure to honor its obligations in the Oslo accords.

Oslo contributed to the current situation, she said. As flawed as Oslo was, Israel still violated it, she said, adding Oslo is now left meaningless.

Source: Palestinian News & Info Agency

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