USA to Cut All Funding to UN Palestinian Aid Agency

Trump Admin Ending UN Aid To Palestinian Refugees

The Trump administration will announce a decision within days to cancel funding for a United Nations agency that supports Palestinian refugees, several people familiar with the decision said on Friday.

"The United States will no longer commit further funding to this irredeemably flawed operation", Nauert added.

UNRWA has faced a cash crisis since the United States, long its biggest donor, slashed funding earlier this year, saying the agency needed to make unspecified reforms and calling on the Palestinians to renew peace talks with Israel.

The United States paid out $60 million to UNRWA in January, withholding another $65 million, from a promised $365 million for the year.

This enables UNRWA to classify more than 5 million people as "refugees", whereas its critics claim the real number is in the tens of thousands. Trump vowed early on in his presidency that the US will no longer fund agencies and countries that do not support its interests.

"By endorsing the most extreme Israeli narrative on all issues including the rights of more than five million Palestinian refugees, the United States administration has lost its status as peacemaker and is damaging not only an already volatile situation but the prospects for future peace", Zomlot said in a statement to AFP.

"Beyond the budget gap itself and failure to mobilize adequate and appropriate burden sharing, the fundamental business model and fiscal practices that have marked UNWRA for years - tied to UNRWA's endlessly and exponentially expanding community of entitled beneficiaries - is simply unsustainable and has been in crisis mode for many years", said Heather Nauert, State Department spokesperson.


The move came a week after the USA announced that it was also cutting more than $200m in economic aid to Palestinians.

The money goes to Palestinians who live in Gaza and the West Bank, but also in Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas speaks during a joint news conference with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov following their meeting in Moscow, May 10, 2018.

But under Trump, Washington has taken a number of actions that have alienated the Palestinians, including the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

"The loss of this organisation could unleash an uncontrollable chain reaction", Mr Maas said.

The State Department said it would begin discussing new approaches for providing aid to Palestinian refugees with the United Nations, host governments and global stakeholders.

"UNRWA does not perpetuate the conflict, the conflict perpetuates UNRWA", he said.

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