UN officials 'concerned' over regional stability after US cut UNRWA aid in half
The United States have frozen over half of their contribution to United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), from $125 million dollars to a mere $60 million.
The move comes on the backdrop of a deterioration in relations between the United States and the Palestinian Authority, which has been particularly sharp since President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital on December 6.
The U.S. Administration seems to be following Netanyahu’s instructions to gradually dismantle the one agency that was established by the— Palestine PLO-NAD (@nadplo) January 16, 2018
international community to protect the rights of the Palestinian refugees and
provide them with essential services. #Palestine #UNRWA pic.twitter.com/feqKnKKL5Z
The head of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA), Pierre Krahenbuhl, expressed alarm and immediately called on other UN members to contribute.
He said the $60 million would keep schools and hospitals open for now, but noted that it was dramatically lower than the $350 million Washington paid over the course of 2017.
"Funding UNRWA or any humanitarian agency is the discretion of any sovereign member state of the United Nations," he said, in a statement.
"At the same time, given the long, trusted, and historic relationship between the United States and UNRWA, this reduced contribution threatens one of the most successful and innovative human development endeavors in the Middle East."
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he was unaware of the cut in aid but he was “very concerned” about the possibility because it “is an important factor of stability.”
At the beginning of January, Trump conditioned the continuation of US aid on Mahmoud Abbas's government "coming to the negotiation table" in a bombshell tweet.
“It's not only Pakistan that we pay billions of dollars to for nothing, but also many other countries, and others. As an example, we pay the Palestinians HUNDRED OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS a year and get no appreciation or respect. They don’t even want to negotiate a long overdue peace treaty with Israel”, Trump wrote in a tweet.
“We have taken Jerusalem, the toughest part of the negotiation, off the table, but Israel, for that, would have had to pay more. But with the Palestinians no longer willing to talk peace, why should we make any of these massive future payments to them?", the next tweet asked.
Similarly, American UN Ambassador Nicky Hailey threatened to cut funds to the Palestinian Authority and UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA). “As of now the Palestinians are not coming to the table but they ask for aid. We’re not giving the aid,” Haley said shortly after a UN vote against Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem in December last year.
Palestinians have slammed the recognition disavowing the United States as legitimate negotiators between Israel and the Palestinians. The issue of the recognition reached the United Nations in two different occasions, at the Security Council and then at the General Assembly, and was condemned by the majority of countries in both occasions.
American UN Ambassador Nicky Hailey vetoed a Security Council resolution which rejected the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and condemned the move of the American embassy from Tel Aviv promised by Trump in his speech.
Days later, Nicky Hailey’s threat to “take names” of countries voting against the Jerusalem recognition at the General Assembly did not stop a landslide against the American move.
UNRWA has been catering for the needs of Palestinian refugees since 1949, and is active in Syria, Jordan, Lebanon as well as in Gaza and in the West Bank.
UNRWA is the second employer of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza after the Palestinian Authority, and the first outside of the Palestinian territories. On top of this, it provides relief to about 5 million registered refugees.
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does that mean thry have nit got enough money to build tunnels under schools i n gaza shame .never bite or nlowup the hand thst feeds you
shsme does that mean they dont have enough money to build tunnels under schools or print anti jewish books in their schools please