March 22, 2018

USA withholds $65 million from United Nations aid for Palestine

19 January 2018, 02:00 | Francis Delgado

US withholds $65m from UN agency for Palestinian refugees


Belgian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said the pledge would be "dispersed immediately".

The move indicates the leveraging its hefty payments to the United Nations Refugee Works Agency (UNRWA) to pressure Palestinian officials into acquiescing to its vision for peace between the Israelis and Palestinians.

"UNRWA has proven time and again to be an agency that misuses the humanitarian aid of the worldwide community and instead supports anti-Israel propaganda, perpetuates the plight of Palestinian refugees and encourages hate", he said.

"I have a lot of respect for UNRWA's work, which has to operate in the most hard and risky circumstances", De Croo said in his statement. Living conditions in Gaza, Syria, the West bank and elsewhere in the region are particularly tough.

The fate of Palestinian refugees have always been considered a final status issue to be determined in a negotiations process. "This prevents them from falling prey to radicalisation and extreme violence".

The United States is withholding more than half of its planned funding of a United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees, renewing debate over the Trump administration's controversial decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

The State Department's position raised skepticism in the light of a tweet sent by Trump on January 2, at the time when the $125 million contribution had been due to be paid. We pay the Palestinians HUNDRED OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS a year and get no appreciation or respect.

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"We believe that the methods of extortion and pressure of the U.S. Administration on the United Nations, especially with regard to programs that do not suit Israel and rightwing extremists, are unacceptable to the worldwide community and UN member states". We're not going to pay to be abused. They're saying they no longer want to have anything to do with us.

International NGOs sharply condemned the funding cut.

Last year, Haley assured UNRWA that the United States would maintain current levels of funding for its operations.

"The United States has been, in the past, the largest single donor to UNRWA".

Even if Washington provided the additional $65 million, the $125 million total would be well below the $355 million that a USA official said it gave UNRWA in the 2017 fiscal year ended September 30. The visit of Palestinian president Abbas next Monday in Brussels is a first opportunity to exchange thoughts in this regard. Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians either fled or were forced from their homes during the war that led to Israel's establishment in 1948.

UNRWA provides services to 5.3 million Palestinian refugees in the Palestinian territories, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria.

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