FM Shalom meets with new UNWRA commissioner
(Communicated by the Foreign Minister’s Bureau)
7th November 2005

Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom yesterday (Sunday, 6 November) held his first meeting with United Nations Works and Relief Agency Commissioner-General Karen Koning Abu Zayd since her appointment in June 2005. The minister congratulated her on her appointment and said Israel has already felt an improvement in the atmosphere.

Minister Shalom raised the issue of transferring authority from UNWRA to the Palestinian Authority, saying that, in the aftermath of the disengagement, Israel is interested in gradually transferring UNWRA’s authority to the PA, without any connection to the status of refugees.

Shalom said that the inhabitants of the Gaza Strip can receive welfare and municipal services from the PA with regard to education, health, and employment, and that a transfer of authority could strengthen the position of the PA among the inhabitants of Gaza, thereby weakening Hamas in its efforts to replace UNWRA.