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Ashrawi: Palestine refugees are victims of Israel's ethnic cleansing

Jan. 21, 2019 10:43 A.M. (Updated: Jan. 22, 2019 11:07 A.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) Executive Committee Member Hanan Ashrawi said, on Sunday, the Israeli government's provocative decision targeting Palestinian refugees in Jerusalem, including closing down and appropriating UNRWA institutions is an affront to international law and international humanitarian law as well as the will of the international community as expressed in United Nations resolutions.

Following reports that the Israeli National Security Council approved a plan to shut down UNRWA-run schools in occupied East Jerusalem, Ashrawi said in a statement, “This plan is part of a wider Israeli strategy that aims to displace and replace the Palestinian people through ethnic cleansing and other criminal acts in order to entrench its colonial regime.”

“Israel is targeting a United Nations Agency mandated by the United Nations General Assembly to operate in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, as well as Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan.”

She added, “UNRWA's legitimate and welcome presence in Jerusalem predates and supersedes the illegal Israeli military occupation of the City.”

She stressed, “Israel is the occupying power in Palestine. Israel has no sovereign rights in our capital nor any right to impose its colonial agenda on the international community, Jerusalem, or any other part of Palestine.”

“The Palestine refugees are victims of the ethnic cleansing perpetrated by Israeli forces during the establishment of Israel.”

“Their continued suffering and displacement is a consequence of Israel's abdication of its responsibilities towards the refugees as well as its willful denial of their fundamental national and human rights.”

Ashrawi said, “In its campaign against Jerusalem, Palestine refugees and UNRWA, Israel is empowered by the US Administration's illegal and unilateral decisions against Palestinian rights.”

“This includes the defunding of UNRWA as well as other positions aimed at preempting final status issues and undermining Palestinian national rights. The Trump administration is thus Israel's partner in this vicious campaign.”

She concluded, “We call on all governments to assume their responsibilities in confronting this destructive American-Israeli campaign. United Nations member states must defend UNRWA and Palestine refugees as well as the legal status of Jerusalem and take steps to defend the foundations of the international order.”

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