Netanyahu visits Jordan's King Abdullah. Photo: Jordanian Royal Court via Getty Images

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wants to see a further decrease in U.S. and international funding to the UN Relief and Works Agency – UNRWA, which assists Palestinian refugees and their descendents. He suggests that some of the money be transferred directly to the Jordanian government, and has raised the idea with UN secretary general Antonio Guterres, per Israeli diplomats and UN officials.

The backdrop: Netanyahu and the Israeli government believe the UNRWA helps Palestinians maintain their demand for a "right of return" for refugees to their homes inside Israel. The Trump administration cut the U.S. contribution in half in January, citing the need for a "fundamental reexamination" of the agency's operations and the way it's funded.

Jordan hosts around three million Palestinian refugees which get services from UNRWA, the most in any country in the region. Netanyahu told Guterres that the Jordanian government should provide them with services and assistance — especially due to the fact that they are Jordanian citizens. The Jordanian government is against any steps to cease UNRWA services in Jordan or to cut international funding to the organization.

Netanyahu met today in New York with the U.S. ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, and discussed the possibility of further cutting U.S. funding to UNRWA. Netanyahu thinks Palestinian refugees should keep on getting humanitarian aid but wants to decrease UNRWA's role as much as possible.

Another idea Netanyahu raised in his meeting with the UN secretary general in Munich was to transfer all the funding a responsibilities from UNRWA the larger UN refugee agency — the UNHCR. According to UN officials Guterres, who once headed UNHCR, told Netanyahu this organization is mandated with repatriation of refugees to their original homes.

Guterres told Netanyahu: "Are you sure this is what you want them to do with Palestinian refugees?".

Israeli officials say that there is one part of UNRWA operations that Netanyahu wants to continue — the humanitarian services to Palestinian refugees in Gaza and the West Bank. Netanyahu told Trump administration officials he doesn’t want the U.S funding cuts to UNRWA to negatively affect those services.

Netanyahu's position was based on that of the IDF and other Israeli security agencies, which state that there is no alternative at the moment to UNRWA in the West Bank and Gaza. Israeli security officials say UNRWA provides 1 million meals to Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza and no other organization can do that today. They're concerned that UNRWA's collapse might lead to a vacuum and destabilization of the security situation.

Go deeper

Updated 59 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 12 p.m. ET: 10,920,457 — Total deaths: 522,385 — Total recoveries — 5,789,032Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 12 p.m. ET: 2,753,754 — Total deaths: 128,871 — Total recoveries: 781,970 — Total tested: 33,462,181Map.
  3. Public health: The states where face coverings are mandatory Fauci says it has been a "very disturbing week" for the spread of the coronavirus in the U.S.
  4. Business: Top business leaders urge the White House to develop mandatory mask guidelines.
  5. Economy: The economy may recover just quickly enough to kill political interest in more stimulus.
  6. States: Florida reports more than 10,000 new coronavirus cases, and its most-infected county issues curfew.
2 hours ago - Sports

Washington Redskins to review team name amid public pressure

Photo: Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

The Washington Redskins have announced they will be conducting a review of the team's name after mounting pressure from the public and corporate sponsors.

Why it matters: This review is the first formal step the Redskins are taking since the debate surrounding the name first began. It comes after weeks of discussions between the team and the NFL, the team said.

Scoop: Instacart raises another $100 million

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios Visuals

Grocery delivery company Instacart has raised $100 million in new funding, on top of the $225 million it announced last month, the company tells Axios. This brings its valuation to $13.8 billion.

Why it matters: This funding comes at what could be an inflection point for Instacart, as customers it acquired during coronavirus lockdowns decide whether they want to continue with the service or resume in-person grocery shopping.