Erekat: No negotiations until Jerusalem decision is dropped

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been questioned seven times by fraud squad detectives

UNRWA's humanitarian relief provides education, health care, and social services to the five million Palestinians in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.

That month the agency also announced the suspension of an UNRWA employee suspected of having been elected a Hamas leader.

UNRWA's response came after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the agency "perpetuates the narrative of the "right of return" with the aim of eliminating the State of Israel" and called for cutting aid to UNRWA until it ceases to exist.

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Netanyahu voiced a common Israeli criticism that UNRWA was created specifically for the Palestinians, while the UNHCR deals with the rest of the world's refugees. "Great-grandchildren of refugees, who are not refugees, but who are cared for by UNRWA", should not receive aid, he said Sunday. "This absurd situation must end".

UNRWA spokesman Sami Mushasha said in response to Netanyahu's statement that "what perpetuates the problem of Palestinian refugees is failure of the parties to deal with this issue, which should be resolved by the parties to conflict through peace negotiations based on United Nations resolutions and worldwide law as well as active involvement from the global community".

USA involvement with resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is off the table until President Donald Trump revokes his decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, a top Palestinian negotiator said Tuesday.

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Netanyahu said UNRWA was "an organization that perpetuates the Palestinian problem".

"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. Privately, it understands that US support for both UNRWA and the Palestinian Authority is in Israel's interest because it maintains the status quo and alleviates a financial burden for Israel.

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

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

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