Aug 31, 2018 12:56 UTC
  • Trump administration to end US funding to UN agency that aids Palestinian refugees

The administration of US President Donald Trump has decided to cancel all US funding to the United Nations aid program for Palestinian refugees, part of a policy to impose maximum pressure on the Palestinians to satisfy Israeli interests and Zionist constituencies in the US.

In an announcement to be made within the next several weeks, the Trump administration plans to express its disapproval of the way the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) spends the funds on Palestinian refugees, The Washington Post reported Thursday, citing officials familiar with the decision.

The administration also plans to call for a sharp reduction in the number of Palestinians recognized as refugees, dropping it from about 5 million, including descendants, to fewer than a tenth of that number, or those still alive from when the agency was created seven decades ago, the newspaper reported.

Many foreign policy and security experts, including in Israel, say that slashing UNRWA’s budget, amid a call to “de-register” refu­gees, would worsen an already disastrous humanitarian situation, especially in Gaza.

The Trump administration has already announced a steady stream of cuts in aid for Palestinians. The US State Department announced in January that would withhold $65 million of a $125 million aid installment to UNRWA.

The US State Department also announced last week that Washington has canceled over $200 million in funds for the Palestinian Authority, leading Palestinian officials to denounce the move as “blackmail.”