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Trump to stop funding UNRWA for Palestinians



The United States will no longer contribute to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees, the State Department announced on Friday amid widespread Palestinian outrage stating that the decision violates international law and exacerbates an already grave humanitarian situation, particularly in Gaza becomes.

The statement called on UNRWA, an UN agency for "irreversibly malfunctioning operations", and criticized other countries for not sharing the burden of Palestinian support.

UNRWA and other international donors are accused of "The declaration of the organization says the United States is very attentive and very concerned about the impact on innocent Palestinians, especially schoolchildren."

Among the numerous government complaints about the agency ̵

1; which includes the United States States contributed about one-third of $ 1.1 billion for 2017 The United Nations estimates the number of Palestinians officially recognized as refugees. It would like to change the number of the more than 5 million that are counted today to the few hundred thousand living when the agency was founded seven decades ago, according to the US authorities.

The administration has generally tried to cut foreign aid with a focus on those countries and organizations that have "US political priorities," officials said. UNRWA's pullback is also a response to Palestinian hostility to the United States, which Nikki Haley, the US Ambassador to the United Nations, reiterated after the political changes in the US that the Palestinians hold for Israel.

Saeb Erekat, Secretary General of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) said the pro-Israeli bias of President Trump's administration had disqualified him from any role in the peace process.

"By cutting aid, the US is violating international law," Erekat said hours before the State Department announcement. He argued that "UNRWA is not a Palestinian agency" but was founded by the United Nations, "and there is an international obligation to support and support them until all problems of Palestinian refugees are resolved."

Erekat added: Some may argue that it is US taxpayers' money and that it depends on how it is spent. But on the other hand, who gave Trump the damn right to steal my land and my capital and my future and my aspirations and my freedom by blindly supporting the occupying power called Israel? "

Erekat also prophesied that the potential ends If other means are not made available, this would be a disaster for places where a large number of Palestinian refugees live, threatening recruitment by extremist groups such as the Islamic State

UNRWA provides assistance to 800,000 West Bank refugees and 1.3 million Palestinians registered in the Gaza Strip and 534,000 in Syria, mainly in the form of education, health care, food security and other important items: 464,000 in Lebanon and 2 million in Jordan.

The United Nations, both among Palestinians and others, defines refugees as anyone who has been expelled from their homes by war, persecution, or violence, and descendants of refugees are included as long as the expulsion continues.

All UN registered refugees retain an interna the "right of return" to their land and home, a topic that has long been one of the core conflicts in Israel-Palestinian conflict. Reducing the number of eligible refugees – as the government would like, although only the UN General Assembly can do so – would drastically change the momentum, as the White House is ready to publish its own peace plan to resolve the conflict.

Earlier this year, the Trump administration announced that it would cut a proposed payment to UNRWA from $ 130 million to $ 65 million. That now seems to be the last US contribution to the agency. Separately, the government said last week that $ 200 million earmarked for direct US assistance to the Palestinian Authority would be "diverted" elsewhere.

The loss of funds would be difficult for the Palestinians, said Ghassan Khatib of Birzeit University in the West Bank, but he said he would do little to change the status of these people as refugees.

"Only the United Nations has the right to give a legal status or a description of refugees, not individual countries," he said. "Changing the American position will not affect the international understanding of refugees."

Amal Khalil, a 53-year-old widow, is worried in Gaza. She has relied on the help of UNRWA to feed herself and her family for many years.

"It has already been reduced more than once, I do not know if it will be further reduced or completely stopped," she said.

Adnan Abu Hasna, a UNRWA spokesman in Gaza, told a local radio station that if the funds for the organization were suddenly stopped, the entire education system would be in danger of collapsing, with only enough money until September. 19659019] Particularly affected by the decision will be Jordan, where the 2 million Palestinian refugees – a fifth of the country's population – use the services of UNRWA. The provision of health care, education and housing for all is now left to the Jordanian Government.

On Friday, Germany and Japan pledged to donate more, but it is unlikely that the increases will cover the US withdrawal.

The agency's now uncertain future has put the Israelis in a predicament, with members of the security camp expressing fears of a total collapse of Palestinian society's infrastructure and what might happen in the place of UNRWA.

"In Gaza, I am particularly concerned that Hamas will interfere. This is worrying because they educate their children in kindergarten to hate Israel and not accept any form of peace," said Amos Gilad, director of the Institute for Politics and Strategy at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya.

But Einat Wilf, a former Israeli lawmaker and co-author of a book on the subject, said she was happy to see the end of UNRWA, which she described as the number one obstacle to peace.

UNRWA has allowed the Palestinian national identity to reunite the right to return and the doom of Israel, she said.

In Washington, Jeremy Ben-Ami, president of the liberal Jewish group J Street, said that the UNRWA announcement "could harm millions of innocent civilians". This decision will increase the risk of greater destabilization and conflict in the Middle East and undermine the security of Israel and countries throughout the region.

Eglash reported from Jerusalem, Balousha reported from Gaza City.


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