A Palestinian woman holds a baby as she walks past the entrance to an UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency) health center in the Shuafat refugee camp in East Jerusalem Oct. 10, 2018. (Reuters file photo)
RAMALLAH, Oct. 24 (Xinhua) -- The Palestinian authorities on Wednesday slammed Israeli attempts to annul the services of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) in East Jerusalem.
The Jerusalem Municipality has started to provide services for residents of Shuafat refugee camp "to impose a new reality in the camp by allowing its municipality to work there instead of the UNRWA," said a joint press release by the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Refugees Affairs Commission and the Popular Refugee Camps Committee.
The statement also denounced an earlier visit by Nir Barkat, Israeli mayor of Jerusalem, to the camp as "a provocative step and a message of defiance to the international community, the UNRWA and the Palestinian refugees living in the camp."
Barkat is "seeking to stir up tension in the region" as the services will be offered "in return for taxes on the camp residents," it explained.
On Tuesday night, the PLO Refugees Affairs Commission held a meeting with UNRWA officials in Ramallah City to discuss the Israeli plan to shut down the UNRWA office in the camp, according to the statement.
"All Shuafat refugee camp groups will stand against the plan and not allow it to end the role of UNRWA," the meeting concluded.
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.