Trump Slashes $200M In Economic Aid To Palestinians

25 Août, 2018, 06:54 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Trump Slashes $200M In Economic Aid To Palestinians

The US has already frozen hundreds of millions in funding for the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), and Friday's announcement follows through on President Donald Trump's threat to cut aid to the Palestinians over their refusal to strike a peace deal with Israel.

Fishing boats are seen at the seaport of Gaza City August 15, 2018.

They hit a low point after the U.S. recognised Jerusalem as Israel's capital in December 2017.

On Friday, a State Department spokesman said the decision to "redirect" the funds to other "high-priority projects" was made as a result of the review, but did not say where the money would now go.

Soon after coming to office previous year, President Donald Trump tapped son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner and attorney Jason Greenblatt to find a way to entice Israelis and Palestinians back to the negotiating table. Israel says Jerusalem is its eternal and indivisible capital.

One thing the disastrous failure of the Trump Administration's approach to peace will put to rest is the ass-backwards notion that the United States needs to increase pressure on the Palestinians for peace. A decision on when the initiative would be rolled out has not yet been made.

Bolton also took a swipe at the Palestinian Authority on Wednesday, suggesting there was little to choose between it and the militant group Hamas, which controls Gaza.

On June 13, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution, sponsored by Turkey and Algeria, condemning Israel for Palestinian civilian deaths in the Gaza Strip.

The administration acknowledges "the challenges the worldwide community faces in providing humanitarian and economic assistance in Gaza, where Hamas control endangers the lives of Gaza's citizens and degrades an already dire humanitarian and economic situation", the official added. More than 2 million Palestinians are packed into the Gaza Strip, which suffers deep economic hardship.

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"The Palestinian people and leadership will not be intimidated and will not succumb to coercion", she said.

"This administration is dismantling decades of U.S. vision and engagement in Palestine", Husam Zomlot, head of the Palestinian General Delegation to the United States said in a statement.

"The announcement does not include some $65 million in frozen USA funding for the U.N. Relief and Works Agency, which provides services to Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza, Jordan and Lebanon", The Associated Press reports.

UNRWA and the Palestinians have warned that cuts could exacerbate hardship in Gaza, an enclave that has been under Israeli and Egypt blockades created to isolate its Islamist Hamas rulers.

Jordan, which hosts the largest number of Palestinian refugees in the Middle East outside Palestinian territories, warned this month that a severe financial shortfall facing UNRWA could have a "catastrophic" impact on the lives of millions of refugees in the region.

The decision comes three months after Trump administration officials including senior advisers Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump celebrated the relocation of the us embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv-a move that provoked outrage among Palestinians as well as in the global community-while Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) shot and fired tear gas at protesters, killing more than 50 people including an eight-month-old baby.

"The rights of the Palestinian people are not for sale", PLO Executive Committee member Hanan Ashrawi said in a statement.

J Street, a liberal pro-Israel group, called the Trump administration's move a "moral outrage and a major strategic blunder".

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