USAID to shutter West Bank, Gaza operation by early 2019: report
(AP Photo/Mohammed Ballas)
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is expected to lay off half of its West Bank and Gaza operation employees in the coming weeks before shuttering the mission completely in early 2019, the Haaretz daily reported Sunday.
According to the report, the humanitarian agency was informed by the US State Department last week that it would have to present a list of 60 employees to be let go by next month as part of the first phase in shutting down the operation.
USAID began operating in the West Bank and Gaza in 1994, with an emphasis on economic growth and infrastructure; water, health and education; and governance and civil engagement.
The gradual shutdown of the agency comes as the United States’ previously generous federal aid to the Palestinians has been reduced to a trickle by a series of punitive measures taken by the Trump administration against the Palestinians, who have been refusing to play ball with the US’s efforts to negotiate a peace deal with Israel.
In June, i24NEWS reported the West Bank and Gaza office of USAID had not received its budget for the upcoming fiscal year and therefore was therefore unable to put its projects out to tender.
In August, the Trump administration announced it was slashing millions of dollars in support to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), accusing the Palestinian aid agency of perpetuating the Middle East conflict by perpetuating the idea that millions of Palestinians are refugees with a right to return to homes in what is today Israel.
Millions of dollars have also been cut for bilateral aid to the Palestinians for projects in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, including to hospitals in east Jerusalem.
The cuts were meant to pressure the Palestinians back to the negotiating table after efforts to negotiate Trump’s “deal of the century” came to a screeching halt with the United States’ recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital last December.
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It is about time. Starting in the late '90's to help to build Inca structure, educate, get electricity and water oh, yeah, health clinic...of these nothing changed. The Gaza is still living in rubble . Thank you Hamas for not allowing the Palestinians to better their lives. (Tongue and cheer). USAID should have been pulled out in 2010.
Trump reverses > 100 years of USSD orientalist diplomacy!
Trump' s deal: No Go.