UN agency vows to maintain Jerusalem services


JERUSALEM: The UN agency for Palestinian refugees is vowing to continue operations in Jerusalem despite Israeli plans to remove it.

The Relief and Works Agency, or UNRWA, said Saturday that education, health care and other services to Palestinian residents of east Jerusalem are “important work.”

On Thursday, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat said Israeli authorities will take over UNRWA’s services, most notably schooling for 1,800 students, without giving an exact timeline.

UNRWA has operated in east Jerusalem, which Palestinians demand as a future capital, since Israel occupied it in 1967. The Trump administration, however, cut $300 million in annual aid to the agency, demanding reforms.

The agency was established following the 1948 Mideast war that led to Israel’s creation. Today, it aids 5 million Palestinians, mostly refugee descendants. Israel says this perpetuates conflict with the Palestinians.