Corbyn blasts ‘shameful’ US decision to end UNRWA funding, calls for UK to ‘fill the gap’

“Shameful for the US to end its funding for UNRWA…. The UK must help to fill the gap by boosting its contributions,” Corbyn tweeted.

By: Adina Katz, World Israel News

While facing condemnation for his anti-Israel activism and charges of anti-Semitism from party members, world Jewish leaders and senior Israeli politicians, UK Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn added fuel to the fire by weighing in on Washington’s decision to stop funding UNRWA.

“Shameful for the US to end its funding for UNRWA, a vital UN refugee agency. The UK must help to fill the gap by boosting its contributions. Support for Palestinian refugees is a vital commitment until there is a just and viable settlement of the Israel-Palestine conflict,” he tweeted on Saturday night.

The State Department announced Friday that the US, the largest contributor to UNRWA with $350 million in annual aid, will make no additional contributions to the agency.

The Palestinians, who reacted in fury to the move, claim refugee status for five million people, which includes millions of descendants of the approximately 700,000 original refugees who were living in British Mandatory Palestine, or what is now the State of Israel, and were displaced during the 1948 War of Independence.

These descendants of refugees, supported by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine (UNRWA), live in Judea and Samaria, the Gaza Strip, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon.

The majority of the original refugees are no longer alive.

Speaking Sunday morning on the occasion of the first day of the new school year, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu added comments praising the US decision.

Netanyahu: US made a ‘welcome and important change’

Referring to Jewish refugees from Europe and from Arab lands, he said that the State of Israel “did not leave them as refugees; we turned them into equal citizens, who contribute, in our state.

“This is not what is happening with the Palestinians,” he added. “There they created a unique institution, 70 years ago, not to absorb the refugees but to perpetuate them. Therefore, the US has done a very important thing by halting the financing for the refugee perpetuation agency known as UNRWA. It is finally beginning to resolve the problem. The funds must be taken and used to genuinely help rehabilitate the refugees, the true number of which is much smaller than the number reported by UNRWA. This is a welcome and important change and we support it.”

Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon issued a statement, saying, “We welcome the US’ decision as UNRWA has proven itself an impediment to resolving the conflict by keeping the Palestinians in perpetual refugee status. The Palestinian attempt to approach the UN is another empty statement.

“It’s about time that the Palestinian leadership abandoned its victimhood and incitement campaign and took concrete steps to improve the Palestinians future,” he added.