UN agency says not aware of plan to close east Jerusalem schools

JERUSALEM (AFP) – The United Nations (UN) agency for Palestinian refugees said last Sunday it was not aware of a reported plan by Israel to close its schools in east Jerusalem.

Israel’s Hadashot television news reported last Saturday night that the country’s national Security Council had taken a decision to close the schools starting next academic year.

It said the students would be absorbed by schools run by Israeli authorities.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office did not confirm the report to AFP.

The UN agency, known as UNRWA, said it “was not notified of any decision to close down schools it operates in east Jerusalem”.

“We deliver services and maintain facilities in east Jerusalem since 1950 under our General Assembly mandate,” it said in a statement. “This mandate includes east Jerusalem as part of our operational area.”

It added that Israel was party to commitments obligating it to protect the agency’s operations in areas under its authority.