GUE/NGL has protested the inclusion of a biased debate in today’s plenary agenda by the right wing at the European Parliament, calling for the abolition of the United Nations Relief & Works Agency (UNRWA), the agency responsible for supporting Palestinian refugees displaced by Israel.

The group expresses its resolute support for the valuable work of UNRWA providing services to some 5 million Palestinian refugees in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria. Palestinian refugees have for decades been denied their UN-sanctioned right of return to their homes from which they were expelled.

Speaking in the plenary, GUE/NGL MEP Eleonora Forenza denounced the EFDD parliamentary group who initiated the debate but did not even show up to it:

“The proposed debate is a provocation that shows how low the entire EFDD group is willing to go. The lies and slander presented in this debate must be denounced by this Parliament, the European Union, member states and the international community.”

“They want to throw mud at UNRWA to distract attention from Europe’s own moral responsibly and historic debt towards the Palestinian people and the tragedy they are in. Palestinians live as stateless people, with millions who have become refugees solely because Israel occupies a land that is not theirs and continues to push Palestinians out by force.”

The Italian MEP called instead for the EU to impose sanctions on Israel and uphold the right of return for Palestinian refugees:

“This Parliament should not discuss the closure of UNRWA, but should instead seek to increase support for the organisation, and to put an end to the occupation of the Palestinian territories and Israel’s continued violations of UN resolutions and human rights conventions.”

“We demand that Israel respect the right of return for Palestinian refugees instead of attacking the agency that helps their daily survival. We call for a military embargo on Israel, the end of the EU-Israel Association Agreement and for Israel to end the takeover of Palestinian land, end the expulsion of Palestinians from Jerusalem, and end the confiscation of houses and construction of illegal settlements,” Forenza concluded.

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