Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday called for the dismantling of the U.N. agency that aids millions of Palestinian refugees.
He accused it of anti-Israeli incitement, adding that he had conveyed his message to the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.
Adnan Abu Hasna, a Gaza-based spokesman for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), said Netanyahu was pursuing a “fantasy”.
The United States, Israel’s main ally, was the biggest donor to UNRWA last year, pledging $368 million.
Speaking at the weekly cabinet meeting, Netanyahu charged that “in various UNRWA institutions there is a lot of incitement against Israel, and therefore the existence of UNRWA – and unfortunately its work from time to time – perpetuates the Palestinian refugee problem rather than solve it.
“Therefore, the time has come to dismantle UNRWA and merge its components with the (UN) High Commissioner for Refugees,” the premier added.
America’s former first lady, Nancy Reagan, has died of congestive heart failure, in her home in California.
The 94-year-old was renowned as one of the most influential first ladies in the United States’ history, and her 52-year marriage to then President, Ronald Reagan, was once described as the US Presidency’s greatest love affair.
Reacting to news of her death, US President, Barack Obama, and first lady Michelle, said; “Nancy Reagan once wrote that nothing could prepare you for living in the White House. She was right, of course. But we had a head start, because we were fortunate to benefit from her proud example, and her warm and generous advice.”
Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, said that he remembered her as a noble woman, who supported President Reagan, and stood by his side, and would be remembered as a great friend to the state of Israel.
The late Mrs Reagan will be buried next to her husband, at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, in Simi Valley, California.
Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has accused UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon of “encouraging terror”.
This came after Mr Ban said it is human nature for oppressed people to react to occupation.
While speaking at the UN Security Council, Mr Ban also condemned recent stabbings of Israelis by Palestinians.
More than 155 Palestinians, 28 Israelis, an American and an Eritrean had died in violence since October.
Mr Ban told the security council that the wave of attacks were driven by a “profound sense of alienation and despair” among some Palestinians, particularly the young.
He condemned the attacks, but said ‘Israel’s settlement-building programme casts doubt on its commitment to the creation of a Palestinian state’.
But Mr Netanyahu said that the Palestinians were working against the creation of a state.
The BBC reported that on Monday, a 24-year-old Israeli woman was fatally stabbed in a West Bank settlement – the third such attack in 10 days. The two Palestinian assailants were shot dead by a security guard.
Most of the Palestinians killed had been attackers, Israel said, while others had been shot dead by Israeli forces during protests and clashes.
Palestinian authorities have rejected hundreds of millions of dollars of tax revenues unfrozen by Israel.
Palestinian Authority President, Mahmoud Abbas, said on Sunday that he returned the money because Israel deducted a third to cover unpaid Palestinian utility debts.
Israel started withholding around $130 million a month in tax and customs revenue in December.
The move came after the Palestinians announced that they were joining the International Criminal Court (ICC), a move finalized on April 1.
Under international pressure, Israel agreed last week to resume the transfers, saying it would immediately pay around $400 million, the withheld revenue minus the amount owed by the Palestinians for utilities supplied by Israel.
President Abbas said those deductions amounted to a third of the total sum that Israel owed the Palestinians.
“We are returning the money. Either they give it to us in full or we go to arbitration or to the court (ICC). We will not accept anything else,” he said in a speech.
An official at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said that Israel had deducted a portion of the Palestinians’ electricity, water and health bills from tax revenue it transferred and was “willing to transfer back to the Palestinian Authority the sum that was returned whenever it wishes”.
The government made the decision to restart payments two weeks ago but warned at the time that it would make deductions from the transfer.
Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, said at the time that Israel would resume payments partly out of “humanitarian considerations”, adding that the “deteriorating situation in the Middle East” and rise of extremists required him to “act responsibly and judiciously”.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has won a surprise victory in Israel’s election on Wednesday after tacking hard to the right in the final days of campaigning, including abandoning a commitment to negotiate a Palestinian State.
In a four-day pre-election blitz, Netanyahu made a series of promises designed to shore up his Likud base and draw voters from other right-wing and nationalist parties, including a pledge to go on building settlements on occupied land and saying that there would be no Palestinian State if he is re-elected.
Exit polls had forecast a dead heat but with almost all votes counted, results gave Likud a clear lead over its main rival, the centre-left Zionist Union.
With 99.5 percent of votes counted, Likud won 30 seats in the 120-member Knesset, comfortably defeating the Zionist Union opposition on 24 seats.
It amounted to a dramatic and unexpected victory – the last opinion polls published four days before the vote showed the Zionist Union with a four-seat advantage over Likud.
The outcome gave Mr Netanyahu a strong chance of forming a right-wing coalition government.
It puts the incumbent on course to clinch a fourth term and become Israel’s longest-serving Prime Minster.
In a statement, Likud said Netanyahu intended to form a new government within weeks, with negotiations already underway with the pro-settler Jewish Home party led by Naftali Bennett, as well as with religious groups.
Despite the numbers stacking up in Netanyahu’s favor, Zionist Union leader, Isaac Herzog said “everything is still open” and that he already had spoken to party leaders about the possibility of forming a government, although, the arithmetic for him is much harder to achieve than for Netanyahu.
Mr Netanyahu described the vote as a “great victory” for Likud, which had trailed the Zionist Union in opinion polls in the run-up to the election.
He said the result was achieved “against all odds”.
“Reality is not waiting for us,” Netanyahu said. “The citizens of Israel expect us to quickly put together a leadership that will work for them regarding security, economy and society as we committed to do – and we will do so.”
Iran must commit to a verifiable freeze of at least 10 years on sensitive nuclear activity for a landmark atomic deal to be reached, U.S. President Barack Obama said.
The American President, however, added that the odds are against talks with Iran ending with an agreement.
At an Interview at the White House, Obama moved to dial back tensions over Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu’s planned speech to Congress on Tuesday, opposing the Iran deal, saying it was a distraction that would not be “permanently destructive” to U.S. Israeli ties.
The President, however, stressed there was a “substantial disagreement” between them over how to achieve their shared goal of preventing Israel’s arch foe from acquiring nuclear weapons and also criticized Netanyahu’s stance.
Negotiations on Iran’s nuclear programme in exchange for an easing of sanctions have reached a critical stage ahead of an end of March deadline for a framework deal and a June 30 date for a final agreement.
Obama’s comment about the time frame for a freeze represents one of the U.S. Government’s strongest signals yet of its red line for a successful deal.
“If, in fact, Iran is willing to agree to double-digit years of keeping their program where it is right now and, in fact, rolling back elements of it that currently exist . If we’ve got that, and we’ve got a way of verifying that, there’s no other steps we can take that would give us such assurance that they don’t have a nuclear weapon,” he said.
The U.S. goal is to make sure “there’s at least a year between us seeing them try to get a nuclear weapon and them actually being able to obtain one,” Obama said in the interview, carefully timed by the White House a day ahead of Netanyahu’s.
Obama’s robust defense of a possible deal with Iran comes as his administration faces criticism from some quarters that it is being too eager to complete a deal, at the risk of allowing Iran to eventually become a nuclear state.
The White House last week denied a report that the United States and Iran were exploring a possible 10-year deal that would initially freeze Iran’s nuclear program but gradually allow it to increase activities that could enable it to produce nuclear arms in the last years of the agreement.
Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, was expected to urge the U.S. Congress on Tuesday to oppose a deal.
He was invited to speak at the U.S. Capitol by Republican House Speaker, John Boehner, angering Democrats.
Mr Netanyahu, who would face domestic elections in two weeks’ time, would not meet Mr Obama during his visit to the U.S.
But Mr Netanyahu had been wrong on Iran before when he opposed an interim nuclear agreement struck last year, Mr Obama said.