Japanese lawmaker calls for reduction in funding to UNRWA

By ETGAR LEFKOVITS
July 24, 2008 16:17

A Japanese parliamentarian said this week that he would work to urge his government to reduce funding to UNRWA, the mammoth UN body which deals exclusively with Palestinian refugees and their descendants, in the wake of continuing criticism of the organization. "I would like to persuade the Japanese Government to reduce funding to UNRWA," said Yoshitake Kimata, a Member of the House of Councilors of the National Diet of Japan. The Japanese lawmaker was in Jerusalem this week for a conservative conference of pro-Israel evangelicals from Asia, which included a session by Tel Aviv University's Dr. Martin Sherman on the differences between UNRWA, and UNHCR, the UN's main refugee agency. Israel has long complained over the direct involvement of some members of UNRWA's predominantly Palestinian staff with Palestinian terror groups such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad. UNRWA insists that such cases are aberrations, and that it has a "zero-tolerance" policy towards terrorism.


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