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News Brief

October 7, 2005
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The United States is considering a proposal to fold the main Palestinian relief organization into the broader U.N. refugee assistance arm, John Bolton said. Testifying in Congress last week, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations said the idea of folding the U.N. Relief and Works Agency into the U.N. High Commission for Refugees was under discussion. “I think it’s appropriate now that we’re beginning to think about what to do with UNRWA as we get to a two-state solution,” Bolton said. He cited the precedent of Cambodian refugees in Thailand who were served by the U.N. Board of Relief Organization; when the status of Cambodia was resolved in the early 1990s, refugees went back to Cambodia and UNBRO was abolished. Israeli and pro-Israel groups complain that UNRWA acts as an advocate for the Palestinians instead of simply administering relief. UNRWA says it advocates for a standard of living and not a national cause.

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