Home Archive 23/June/2018 11:49 AM

Erekat says US envoys seeking to end the issue of Palestinian refugees


RAMALLAH, June 23, 2018 (WAFA) – Saeb Erekat, secretary general of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), said on Saturday that the two United States envoys currently touring the region are seeking to end the issue of the Palestinian refugees by annulling the role of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA).

Erekat told Voice of Palestine radio that the two US officials – Senior Advisor Jared Kushner and Special Representative for International Negotiations Jason Greenblatt – believe that after the US has cancelled the issue of Jerusalem after recognizing the occupied city as Israel’s capital in December and moving its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem in May, they can now do away with the issue of refugees, one of the main final status issues in the now-defunct Palestinian-Israeli negotiations.

“They want to terminate the role of UNRWA by proposing direct aid to the countries hosting the Palestinian refugees and sideline the UN agency,” he said. “On top of this, they are planning financial aid to the Gaza Strip worth one billion dollars for projects, also separate from UNRWA and under the title of solving a humanitarian crisis. All this is actually aimed at liquidating the issue of the Palestinian refugees.”

Kushner and Greenblatt said in a statement upon returning to Israel on Friday and meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that they discussed "the means by which the humanitarian situation in Gaza can be alleviated, while maintaining Israel’s security."

Erekat said Netanyahu told the US envoys during their meeting that he was ready to provide for Gaza’s needs from the Palestinian Authority’s tax and customs revenues Israel collects on its behalf at its ports.

“The goal behind this is to sustain the coup and keep Gaza separated from the West Bank on the way to creating a mini-state in Gaza while bringing down the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank,” said Erekat, a former chief negotiator.

He said Greenblatt advocated in a recent article changing the Palestinian political system in the West Bank by overthrowing the regime of President Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian leadership because they insist on holding on to the national constants and rights of the Palestinian people.

“In order to target the leadership, the US administration starts by creating a state of destabilization and confusion in the West Bank and at the same time works on undercutting international consensus on rejecting the so-called deal of the century and American conspiracies and support for the Palestinian cause,” said the PLO official.

He said Kushner and Greenblatt heard only one united Arab voice that talked about a solution based on an independent Palestinian state on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital, as well as solving the final status issues, including refugee and Jerusalem as per United Nations decisions.

Erekat and Palestinian intelligence chief, Majed Faraj, held talks in Amman, Jordan on Friday with Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi and head of Jordanian intelligence, Adnan al-Jundi. The talks concentrated on the results of the meeting between the two US envoys with King Abdullah of Jordan and the meeting between the Jordanian monarch and Netanyahu in Amman last week.

The Palestinians are boycotting the American administration since it recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and moved its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. They believe the US “deal of the century” falls way short of their expectations and aspirations for a lasing peaceful settlement since it removed main issues such as Jerusalem, refugees, settlements and borders from the negotiating table.


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