Fatah: US action will restrict the work of UNRWA

US withholds $65M aid to Palestine: State Dept

US holds back $65m aid to Palestinians

"T$3 aking away food and education from vulnerable refugees does not bring a lasting and comprehensive peace", Zomlot added, noting Trump's decision lined up with statements made two weeks ago from Israel's Prime Minister who called to shut down UNRWA.

UNRWA's mandate covers 5.15 million registered Palestinian refugees in Gaza, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and the West Bank. We would like other countries - in fact, other countries that criticise the United States for what they believe to be our position vis-a-vis the Palestinians, other countries that have criticised us - to step forward and actually help with UNRWA, to do more.

Palestine Liberation Organisation official Wasel Abu Youssef immediately criticised the move, casting it as a deliberate U.S. effort to deny the Palestinians their rights and linking it to Trump's widely criticised December 6 decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

"All humanitarian aid should be provided on the basis of need", said ADC.

She repeated the USA view that UNRWA needs reform, saying there are a lot more refugees in the program than previously, and that "money coming in from other countries needs to increase as well to continue paying for all those refugees". It is an independent agency, not a Palestinian institution.

A United Nations diplomat said "we consider these developments worrisome for obvious humanitarian reasons".

In contrast to Trump and Haley, who directly linked aid cuts to political talks, State Department officials have insisted that the decision to reduce funding is about pushing UNRWA to enact management and financial reforms.

Nauert said concerns about regional stability were reflected in the decision to cut only a portion of the funding and not "zero" out the budget.


The Middle East Forum has long pressed for a tightening of requirements for the "Palestine refugee" status, seeing this as both improving Palestinian lives and diminishing the threat to Israel. The US is UNWRA's largest donor, supplying almost 30 percent of its budget.

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said the move had nothing to do with "punishing" the Palestinians for their refusal to enter into negotiations with Israel, or their decision to push for a United Nations vote that resulted in overwhelming worldwide condemnation of the Trump administration's decision to unilaterally recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

The US move threatens the ability of the United Nations agency to meet its major obligations towards the Palestinian refugees.

UNRWA commissioner-general Pierre Krähenbühl said in a statement that the reduced United States contribution "threatens one of the most successful and innovative human development endeavors in the Middle East".

In a December 15 letter to UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krähenbühl, State Department Comptroller Eric Hembree had pledged $45 million to the West Bank/Gaza Emergency Appeal.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said he was "very concerned" about the impact on the region.

The United States pays the Palestinians "hundred of millions of dollars" a year, Trump wrote in all-capital letters on Twitter.

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