President Trump Cuts Funds To UN Program For Palestinian Refugees

Trump Admin Ending UN Aid To Palestinian Refugees

The comments on Friday came shortly after the U.S. government, a major ally of Israel, announced that it was stopping its funding to the United Nations Relief Works and Agency (UNRWA) after determining the organisation to be an "irredeemably flawed operation".

The Trump administration is expected to announce Friday that it is permanently slashing funds to the United Nations' refugee agency, in a move that security officials worry could spark Palestinian unrest but that the administration says is part of a wider US strategy.

That's according to individuals familiar with a policy review into US funding for the U.N. Relief and Works Agency, which provides aid to Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon.

A decision by US President Donald Trump's administration to significantly decrease the country's funding for the United Nations agency has left the UNRWA with a $217 million deficit, which is not going to be covered by Berlin's additional contribution, as announced by Maas.

In January the Trump administration provided $60 million in funding but withheld a further $65 million it had been due to provide.

UNRWA has warned it now only has the funds to keep its 711 schools open for the next month.

Pierre Krahenbuhl, Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), speaks at a press conference in Amman, Jordan, on Thursday.

"The United States will intensify dialogue with the United Nations, host governments, and worldwide stakeholders about new models and new approaches", she said in the statement.

"We are very mindful of and deeply concerned regarding the impact upon innocent Palestinians, especially school children, of the failure of UNRWA and key members of the regional and worldwide donor community to reform and reset the UNRWA way of doing business", she added.

Earlier this week, the US announced it would cut more than $200 million in aid to Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza.

Al Jazeera's Rob Reynolds, reporting from Washington, DC, said the U.S. decision was "likely to considerably worsen an already dire situation in parts of the Palestinian territories, especially in Gaza".

President Trump has long called for other nations to step up and share the "burden of costs", and while efforts have been made to address the issue, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said that "the overall worldwide response has not been sufficient".

The shake-up is part of the Trump administration's bid to cut its spending overseas, and as the White House drafts its Middle East peace plan.

UNRWA was set up in the wake of the 1948 Arab-Israeli war to deal with displaced Palestinians, but is a frequent target of Israel, which claims it perpetuates a "right of return" that Israel rejects.

UNRWA was established in 1949 after 700,000 Palestinians were forcibly displaced from their homes by Zionist paramilitaries in the run-up to the establishment of the state of Israel.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas called the decision from the Trump administration an attempt to put pressure on Palestinian authorities.

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