Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner is leading an effort to craft a peace plan meant to launch negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians to end the decades-long conflict.
By – Reuters
The United States is cutting more than $200 million in aid to the Palestinians, the State Department said on Friday, amid a deteriorating relationship with the Palestinian leadership.
A senior State Department official said without elaborating that the funds, originally planned for programs in the West Bank and Gaza, would address “high-priority projects elsewhere.”
“As a result of that review, at the direction of the president, we will redirect more than $200 million in FY2017 Economic Support Funds originally planned for programs in the West Bank and Gaza.”
Asked where the money would be redirected and whether it would go to other Palestinian projects, another State Department official said: “We will work with Congress to redirect these funds to other policy priorities.”
Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity.
The announcement came at a time when the Palestinian leadership has angered the White House by boycotting its peace efforts since President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and moved the embassy there, reversing decades of U.S. policy.
The status of Jerusalem — home to sites holy to the Muslim, Jewish and Christian religions — is one of the biggest obstacles to any peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians.
Palestinians claim East Jerusalem for the capital of an independent state they seek. Israel says Jerusalem is its eternal and indivisible capital.
Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner is leading an effort to craft a peace plan meant to launch negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians to end the decades-long conflict. A decision on when the initiative will be rolled out has not yet been made.
The State Department cited the Islamist militant group Hamas‘ control of Gaza as part of its justification for reallocating the funds. The United States and Israel designate Hamas as a terrorist group.
The decision is almost certain to exacerbate the dire humanitarian situation in Gaza. More than 2 million Palestinians are packed into the Gaza Strip, which suffers deep economic hardship.
The U.S. had in January announced it would withhold $65 million of $125 million that it had planned to send to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, which is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions from U.N. states, with the United states as the largest contributor.
National Security adviser John Bolton told Reuters this week that UNRWA was “a failed mechanism” that violated standard international law on the status of refugees.
Whoever said crime doesn’t pay hasn’t talked to the family of a Palestinian terrorist. For the Palestine Liberation Organization and the related Palestinian Authority, the killers of Jewish Israelis are considered “martyrs.” And as such, their families are paid for the service these murderers have done for the Palestinian cause.
UNRWA was founded in 1949 after the first Arab-Israel war, which led to 700,000 Palestinians being forced to leave their homes or flee. It helps around 5 million Palestinian refugees, a figure that includes descendants of those displaced by the fighting
Jordan, which hosts the largest number of Palestinian refugees in the Middle East outside Palestinian territories, warned this month that a severe financial shortfall facing UNRWA could have a “catastrophic” impact on the lives of millions of refugees in the region.
Read more: From 2018/08/03