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Netanyahu: 'Shut down UNRWA'

Netanyahu: 'Shut down UNRWA'
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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stopped short of backing an immediate halt of U.S. aid to Palestinians, while he reiterated his call for the dismantling a U.N. agency created to help Palestinian refugees.

Netanyahu's public comments, at a weekly cabinet meeting, appeared to reflect a desire to show support for a main ally, U.S. President Donald Trump, as well as concern that choking off funds would deepen Palestinian hardship, particularly in the Gaza Strip, and put Israel and militants on course for war.

"I completely agree with President Trump harsh criticism of the United Nations Relief and Work Agency. UNRWA is an organisation that perpetuates the Palestinian refugee problem. It also enshrines the narrative of the so-called 'right of return' in a bid to eliminate the state of Israel. Therefore, UNRWA should pass from the world."

The Axios news website reported that Washington had frozen $125 million in funding for the UNRWA , a report denied by a State Department official. The U.N. agency was founded in 1949 to aid Palestinian refugees and is still a main provider of educational and health services in the Gaza Strip.

The USA is the biggest contributor, with 360 million dollars going to the agency in 2016 to help over 5 million refugees.