Trump administration to stop funding for UN Palestinian refugee program

They don’t care about children’ Kadyrov blasts US for halting Palestinian aid

Head of the Chechen Republic Ramzan Kadyrov

The Trump administration announced Friday that it is cutting almost $300 million in planned funding for a United Nations agency that aids Palestinian refugees after finding the operation "irredeemably flawed".

The State Department announced in a written statement Friday that the United States "will no longer commit further funding to this irredeemably flawed operation".

The agency supports some five million registered Palestinian refugees and provides schooling for 526,000 children in the Palestinian territories, Lebanon, Syria and Jordan.

Earlier this year, the State Department released $60 million of the $350 million allocated for the agency, but Mr. Kushner and Mike Pompeo, the Secretary of State, have decided not to give the remaining $290 million, said Mr. Trump vowed early on in his presidency that the USA will no longer fund agencies and countries that do not support its interests.

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

"T$3 here's an endless number of refugees that continue to get assistance, but more importantly, the Palestinians continue to bash America", U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley said, according to The Post.

More than 700,000 Palestinians were forced from their land in the events leading to the establishment of the state of Israel.

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 decision to keep back some money is likely to compound the difficulty of reviving Israeli-Palestinian peace talks and further undermine Arabs' faith that the United States can act as an impartial arbitrator.

"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.

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".

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

Speaking before the announcement on UNRWA, its representative in Washington, Elizabeth Campbell, said the withdrawal of USA funding would leave the agency facing a financial crisis, but noted that Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and others have provided more than $200 million in new funding to help cover its budget this year.

Many Palestinians, however, say the USA is cutting the aid to pressure them into going along with the Trump administration's so-called "deal of the century" peace plan, and to strip the majority of Palestinians of their refugee status, erasing the issue of right of return altogether.

In Gaza, the Islamist group Hamas condemned the United States move as a "grave escalation against the Palestinian people".

"As long as a just a lasting solution has not found of the issue of Israel-Palestine conflict we will continue to implement the mandate that the General Assembly has given us".

The State Department did not address concerns that the US may try to pressure the United Nations into reducing the number of Palestinians given refugee status.

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