Wednesday, 21 April, 2021


Trump administration to cut $300 million from UN Palestinian refugee agency

Jordan rejects US-proposed confederation with Palestine Trump administration to cut $300 million from UN Palestinian refugee agency
Bennie Garza | 01 September, 2018, 08:40

The Trump administration is expected to announce Friday that it is permanently slashing funds to the United Nations' refugee agency, in a move that security officials worry could spark Palestinian unrest but that the administration says is part of a wider USA strategy.

The State Department announced Friday that the U.S. "will no longer commit further funding to this irredeemably flawed operation".

Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said a meeting next month in NY on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly would mobilise support for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) to continue core education and health services. The United States paid out $60 million to UNRWA in January but withheld another $65 million pending a review.

In her statement, Nauert said that the UNWRA's business model and fundamental practices were "unsustainable".

US President Donald Trump and his aides say they want to improve the Palestinians´ plight, as well as start negotiations on an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement.

The agency was founded in 1949 after the first Arab-Israeli war, in the wake of the exodus of around 700,000 refugees who fled or were driven out of Israel on its founding as a state.

The Palestinian Authority has refused all contact with Washington since US President Donald Trump announced late a year ago that he was unilaterally recognising Jerusalem - which is claimed by both Israel and the Palestinians - as the Israeli capital, making the US one of very few countries to do so. Where is the United Arab Emirates? Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' spokesperson called that USA decision an attempt to force the Palestinians to abandon their claim to Jerusalem.

U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley has advocated for cutting funding to the UNRWA, saying on Tuesday that Palestinians "continue to bash America".

The Jordanian foreign minister said the NY event aims to "close the gap and put in place a plan that will ensure UNRWA's continued, ongoing funding for the coming years", Safadi said.

In recent days, senior Trump administration officials publicly expressed dissatisfaction with UNRWA but stopped short of saying the USA would defund the agency.

But Richard Goldberg, senior adviser at the Foundation for Defence of Democracies, called it "a win for USA taxpayers and peace" that would make Palestinians more self-sufficient and prepare them "for a true peace with Israel".

Jeremy Ben-Ami, president of J Street, a liberal advocacy group, said Trump's decision "has the potential to harm millions of innocent civilians" and "will ratchet up the risk of greater destabilization and conflict across the Middle East".

In a statement, the State Department said that the USA was no longer willing to fund a disproportionate share of the UNWRA costs.

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