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US to end the funding of the U.N. Agency, which helps Palestinian refugees



WASHINGTON – The United States government has decided to stop any monies it can afford a United Nations agency that helps millions of Palestinian refugees complete a decade-long policy of support, according to a former senior US aid organization [19659002] Jared Kushner, Trump's son-in-law and top Middle East adviser, urged Jared Kushner to force Palestinian politicians to drop the demands of many of these refugees to return to their homes, "They call their homeland," he said former civil servant R. David Harden, who worked at the United States Agency for International Development until April.

Every year by the end of September, the State Department transfers money to the United Nations Relief Agency, known as Unrwa, which provides assistance to Palestinian refugees in the Middle East. Earlier this year, the State Department has released $ 60 million of $ 350 million for the agency, but Mr. Kushner and Mike Pompeo, the Secretary of State, have decided not to give the remaining $ 290 million, said Mr. Harden, who was informed Plans and monitoring of projects in the Palestinian territories for more than a decade.

The decision was made at a meeting between officers this month, Harden said. Mr Pompeo argued against a drastic cut in funding, but Mr Kushner took a strong stance and won, he added.

"What we're seeing right now is a capricious movement that carries a very high risk of unsettling the region," Harden said, noting that the relief organization supports about five million refugees in the Middle East.

Mr. Kushner is working on a proposal for a peace process in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and is looking for a way to get Palestinian leaders to drop demands for the right of most or all of the five million refugees to return to the country under Israeli control.

The vast majority of the five million are descendants of the originally displaced Palestinians, and the United Nations Relief Organization officially considers them refugees in accordance with international law and United Nations refugee protocols, said Peter Mulrean, director of the Unrwa representative office the United Nations

Mr. Kushner and other American officials are trying to change that designation through the United Nations agency in the hope that it will change the debate on who has the right to return. Those American officials also believe that the defense of the aid organization will give them power to force Palestinian leaders to lower or reduce the requirement for return rights, which is one of the biggest issues between Israeli and Palestinian officials, Harden

said When asked about the decision on Thursday evening, a State Department official declined to comment.

The United States is the largest donor to the United Nations agency, providing about 25 percent of its annual funding. The rest comes, among others, from European and Middle Eastern countries.

The Trump administration announced last week that $ 200 million was diverted to Palestinian aid in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. This money has been allocated by the International Development Agency Congress and is part of an aid package granted annually to the Palestinians. Approximately $ 35 million would continue to flow in this channel, Harden said.

Elizabeth Campbell, spokeswoman for the UN aid organization, said the government has not yet informed the Trump government (19659002) "We continue to be grateful for the funding that the United States has provided so far," she said. Campbell noted that, among other things, the Agency provided food aid to half of the population in Gaza, ensuring that all children had access to education there.

"Unrwa is a public good that provides critical services such as vaccinations and antenatal care, which is otherwise unavailable to refugees," she said.

At a security conference in Washington on Tuesday, Nikki R. Haley, the United States Ambassador to the United Nations, was asked for reports that the government intended to provide funding for the charity. The decision was first published on Tuesday by Foreign Policy.

"First of all, you see the fact that there are an endless number of refugees who continue to receive help," said Ms. Haley, who was a critic at the agency. "But more importantly, the Palestinians continue to beat America."

Haley said she has made it her business to show Mr Trump the list of countries to which the United States donates, and then to mention that not all of these countries support the United States at the United Nations voted. She said that the lack of support from Palestinian leaders has been particularly annoying lately.

Gardiner Harris contributed reports from Washington and Rick Gladstone from New York.


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