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Palestinian leader says United States out of peace talks until Jerusalem policy reversed

Palestinian leader says United States out of peace talks until Jerusalem policy reversed

Erekat said that US President, Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel dictated removing Jerusalem from any negotiations.

He also criticized the USA administration for "dictating on the Palestinian leadership by adopting the Israeli position, in order to liquidate the Palestinian cause by demanding the dismantle of UNRWA, cutting aid and starving refugees and closing schools". "It also perpetuates the narrative of the so-called "right of return" with the aim of eliminating the State of Israel, and therefore UNRWA must disappear".

"UNRWA is an organization that perpetuates the problem of the Palestinian refugees", he added.

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) said on Monday that its mandate comes only from the UN General Assembly, which created it in1950 following the Palestinians' dispersion from their homeland with Israel's creation by a UN resolution in 1947, WAFA reported.

"My announcement today marks the beginning of a new approach to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians". The Palestinians have strongly protested the decision, and Trump has threatened to take action against those who challenged him.

"Should UNRWA disappear, Israel, the occupying power in the West Bank and Gaza, which is legally charged with the well-being of the civilian population in the territory, would assume greater responsibility for the over 2 million refugees in the territory which UNRWA supports", Yousef Munayyer, executive director of the U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights, told Newsweek.

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Yet it could also have a negative effect on Israel, which also relies on the Palestinian Authority to help maintain calm.

Last week, UNRWA Spokesman Chris Gunness said his organization was not informed of any changes to USA contributions to the United Nations agency.

The U.S. donated $355 million to UNRWA in 2016, almost 30 percent of its total funding.

The the largest donor to UNRWA and ending its aid could have a particularly damaging effect in Gaza, where the majority of residents are eligible for its services.

Israel suggested that the funds for Palestinian "refugees" be rerouted through another UN body such as the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) which deals the rest of the world's refugees, according to a report broadcast on Israel's Channel 2.