BEIRUT, Sept. 4 (Xinhua) -- The representative of Hamas in Lebanon urged on Tuesday the Arab countries to secure funds for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) to continue its work, after the United States decided to stop funding it, a Lebanese newspaper reported.
"Rich Arab countries have not been much of a support to UNRWA in contrary to European countries," Ali Baraka was quoted by Elnashra, an online independent newspaper, as saying.
He further criticized the U.S. decision as politically motivated.
"They want to deprive the Palestinians of (the rights of) going back to their homeland," he said.
The United States announced on Friday that it will no longer contribute to UNRWA, calling the UN refugee agency an "irredeemably flawed operation."
The announcement sparked fury among Lebanese officials, who voiced their concerns over a suspected conspiracy to prolong the Palestinians' stay in Lebanon.
On Monday, Lebanese Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri called for an emergency meeting of the Arab League to issue a decision for funding UNRWA.
Meanwhile, Lebanese caretaker Minister of Foreign Affairs Gebran Bassil held a meeting on Monday with 24 top foreign diplomats from countries concerned with the UNRWA funding crisis.
Some countries, including France, Switzerland and Britain, agreed to increase their donations to UNRWA during the meeting, according to sources close to the ministry.
As the oldest and largest relief organization, UNRWA was established in 1949 and mandated to provide assistance and protection to some 5.4 million registered Palestinian refugees in Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip to achieve their full potential in human development.
Its services include education, health care, relief, social services, infrastructure, camp improvement and microcredit.