US threatens to cut UNRWA aid if Palestinians fail to return to negotiations
Menahem Kahana (AFP)
US ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley threatened on Tuesday that the US would cut funding to the UN’s Palestinian refugee relief agency if the Israeli-Palestinian peace process fails to move forward.
According to Haley, US President Donald Trump “doesn't want to give any additional funding until the Palestinians agree to come back to the negotiation table.”
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) is the largest source of aid for Palestinian refugees and has founded Palestinian schools in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip. The US is its primary source of funding, receiving over $300 million per year.
“What we saw with the resolution was not helpful to the situation," Haley said speaking with reporters following a televised speech. "We're trying to move for a peace process, but if that doesn't happen, the president is not going to continue to fund that situation."
“The Palestinians now have to show their will — they want to come to the table. As of now they are not coming to the table but they ask for aid. We’re not giving the aid,” Haley continued. “We’re going to make sure they come to the table and we want to move forward with the peace process.”
In the wake of Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, a break with decades of US policy, Palestinian officials have boycotted the US as a mediator, canceling any meetings with US envoys or diplomats.
The issue is among the most contentious in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Israel claims all of Jerusalem as its united capital, while the Palestinians see the eastern sector as the capital of their future state.
Trump’s December 6 announcement sparked international backlash and outrage, fueling sometimes deadly protests and clashes across the region.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday hit back at an Israeli law that was passed earlier in the day enshrining the indivisibility of Jerusalem, calling it a "declaration of war on Palestinians."
The law would require a vote of two-thirds of the Knesset (Israel's parliament) in order to sanction a division of Jerusalem in any future peace agreement with the Palestinians.
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Who needs negotiators in bad Faith? Refunding long overdue. Let Iran use the $150billions from BHO.