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Abbas slams reported US plans to sabotage UN agency responsible for Palestinian refugees

PALESTINIAN President Mahmoud Abbas’s adviser Nabil Shaath hit out today at reported US plans to undercut the UN agency UNWRA that cares for several million Palestinian refugees and their descendants.

The US-based Foreign Policy magazine reported that President Donald Trump’s Middle East adviser Jared Kushner called earlier this year in an email for a "sincere effort to disrupt" UNWRA.

The magazine reported that Mr Kushner had sought to press Jordanian officials during his visit in June to strip 2 million Palestinians of refugee status, thereby rendering UNWRA irrelevant.

Mr Shaath accused the Trump administration of "pushing to impose facts on the ground, by realising all of Israel's demands.”

Mr Abbas’s office said it would "foil conspiracies to end the Palestinian cause.”

Earlier, the Ship to Gaza, which seeks to breach Israel’s blockade of Gaza, protested at the hijacking in international waters of its yacht Freedom, sailing under the Swedish flag yesterday.

“Ship to Gaza demands that those who have been taken prisoner and the ship and its cargo are returned to the location where the ship was boarded and are allowed to continue their journey in international and Palestinian waters unmolested, in accordance with international law," it said.

The ship’s 12 passengers are mostly from Sweden but also from Germany, Britain, Spain, France and Canada. They are in custody and will be put on flights home, a spokeswoman for the Israeli Immigration Authority said.

• A 15-year-old boy shot by an Israeli sniper in Gaza during Friday’s Great Return March protests died yesterday.

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