Palestinians, Jordan welcome UN vote to renew UNRWA mandate

Hamas also praised the UN vote and said it will "contribute to improving the humanitarian conditions for millions of Palestinian refugees."

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas attends the 30th Arab Summit in Tunis, Tunisia March 31, 2019 (photo credit: REUTERS/ZOUBEIR SOUISSI)
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas attends the 30th Arab Summit in Tunis, Tunisia March 31, 2019
(photo credit: REUTERS/ZOUBEIR SOUISSI)
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Saturday welcomed the United Nations vote to extend the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA) mandate until 2023 and said it was "a clear message to the international community that the resolutions of international legitimacy are not subject to bargaining or extortion.”
Noting that 169 countries voted in favor of the resolution, Abbas said that this was proof that the entire world stands by the Palestinians, their historical rights and just their just cause.
The vote, he said, “represents a victory for international law and the rights of the Palestinian refugees until their issue is resolved in accordance with UN resolutions.”
Abbas thanked the countries that voted in favor of the resolution and urged the international community to work toward a “just solution to the Palestinian cause to achieve peace, security and stability in the region.”
PLO Secretary-General Saeb Erekat said that the overwhelming vote in favor of extending the mandate of UNRWA “represents a victory of international legitimacy and a defeat for political and financial extortion.”
Erekat too thanked the countries that voted in favor of the resolution.
PLO Executive Committee member Ahmed Majdalani praised the UN resolution and called it a “blow to the state of occupation and the [US President Donald] Trump administration.” The resolution, Majdalani said, “is an international affirmation of the right of return for the refugees and the right to self-determination, since UNRWA is a witness to the tragedy of the refugees.”
Noting that Israel and the US were the only countries that voted against the resolution, the PLO official said that Israeli and US attempts to foil the vote “did not intimidate the international community.”
"This important political decision comes in wake of a powerful campaign by the Trump administration to eliminate UNRWA by halting funding to the agency and inciting against it," Majdalani added.
The PLO’s Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) hailed the UN vote and called it a “severe blow to the Trump administration and the [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu government.” The resolution also constitutes a “severe blow” to Trump’s yet-to-be-announced plan for Mideast peace, also known as the “Deal of the Century,” and “hostile attempts to dismantle UNRWA," the DFLP said.
Hamas also praised the UN vote and said it will "contribute to improving the humanitarian conditions for millions of Palestinian refugees."
Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said that his movement welcomes the decision and thanks all the countries that voted in favor of renewing the mandate of UNRWA "despite American and Israeli pressure.” The vote, he said, “reflects a feeling of international responsibility toward the tragedy of the refugees and confirms the sincerity of the Palestinian narrative.”
In Amman, a spokesman for the Jordanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that the UN vote to extend the mandate of UNRWA “is a clear sign of support for the agency to continue with its mission in providing services to millions of Palestinian refugees in the fields of education, health, and social welfare.”
In Cairo, the Arab League welcomed the UN vote, saying it “reflects political support for UNRWA until a just solution is found for the Palestinian refugees’ issue based on UN resolution 194.”
The vote by 169 countries, nine abstentions and two against (the US and Israel) is proof that the entire world stands by the Palestinian people, their historical national rights and just cause,” Arab League Deputy Secretary-General Said Abu Ali said in statement.