It’s a “fantasy,” remarked Adnan Abu Hasna, a Gaza-based spokesman for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, UNRWA, responding to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s call to dismantle the agency Sunday.
The Israeli leader said the body that aids millions of Palestinian refugees incites anti-Israeli sentiments and that he had already conveyed his message to the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.
"It is time UNRWA be dismantled and merged with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees," Netanyahu declared.
UNRWA perpetuates the Palestinian refugee problem and teaches children to hate Israel. UNRWA should be disbanded and integrated into UNHCR.— Benjamin Netanyahu (@netanyahu) June 11, 2017
Chris Gunness, UNRWA's chief spokesman, told Reuters that only the General Assembly, by a majority vote, could change the mandate of the agency.
The UNRWA was created by the Assembly in 1949 after thousands of Palestinians were displaced from their homeland in the creation of the state of Israel following the war in 1948. It says it currently aids 5 million registered Palestinian refugees in the Middle East.
Abu Hasna, speaking in Hebrew on Israel Radio, also warned that if "UNRWA is gone" in the Gaza Strip, where food, educational and health services are provided, "2 million people will turn into IS (Islamic State) supporters.”