U.S. to Cut All Funding to UN Palestinian Aid Agency

Palestinians step up attacks on Trump administration

Palestinians step up attacks on Trump administration

The State Department announces, the Trump administration is officially cutting off funds to a United Nations program, that doles out aid to Palestinian refugees.

And while there was some relief for the agency on Thursday when Germany said it would provide additional funding, UNRWA's director Pierre Krahenbuhl said earlier this week that the agency needs $200 million to continue its work until the end of this year.

Palestinian officials have already accused the U.S. of pro-Israel bias, especially after Mr Trump recognised Jerusalem as Israel's capital and opened a USA embassy in Jerusalem, despite the city being claimed by both sides. "Several countries, including Jordan, Egypt, Sweden, Qatar, and the UAE (United Arab Emirates) have shown leadership in addressing this problem, but the overall global response has not been sufficient".

Nauert said the agency's "endlessly and exponentially expanding community of entitled beneficiaries is simply unsustainable and has been in crisis mode for many years".

U.S. 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.

Haley added that the Palestinian Authority "have their hand out wanting UNRWA money".

"The consecutive American decisions represent a flagrant assault against the Palestinian people and a defiance of United Nations resolutions", Palestinian Authority spokesperson Nabil Abu Rdainah told Reuters news agency on Friday.

"What we're seeing right now is a capricious move that has a very high risk of unsettling the region", Harden said, noting that the relief agency supported about 5 million refugees.

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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.

In an opinion piece for MEE on Friday, journalist Ben White wrote that the halting of aid to UNRWA is only the latest in a series of United States policy moves to "defeat the Palestinian struggle".

She also said the "right of return" to Israel, claimed by the Palestinian as part of any eventual peace settlement, should be "off the table".

The group, referring to the PA's "pay for slay" program, noted Congress adopted the Taylor Force Act, named after an American killed in Middle East terror, which prevents the USA from funding the payments.

It is also a response, in the words of Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, to continued Palestinian hostility toward America, which has intensified following USA policy changes that Palestinians deem pro-Israeli.

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 the context of Israel's "Jewish nation state" law, the U.S. recognition of Jerusalem, and moves towards annexation of West Bank territory", White wrote, "those seeking the elimination of UNRWA envisage its demise to be a crucial part of the consolidation of an apartheid, single state, and the defeat of the Palestinian struggle".

"With Palestinians no longer willing to talk peace, why should we make any of these massive future payments to them?"

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