US cuts aid to Palestinians by more than $200 million

By: Middle East Affairs

The Trump administration has decided to cut more than $200 million in bilateral assistance to the Palestinians, following a review of the funding for projects in the West Bank and Gaza, according to US officials and congressional aides.

The State Department notified Congress of the decision yesterday, according to the officials and aides, who spoke condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to publicly discuss the move ahead of its formal announcement.

The declaration came when the Palestinian initiative has maddened the White House by boycotting its tranquility endeavors since President Donald Trump perceived Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and moved the consulate there, turning around many years of U.S. arrangement.

The status of Jerusalem – home to locales heavenly to the Muslim, Jewish and Christian religions – is one of the greatest hindrances to any peace assention amongst Israel and the Palestinians.

It should be noted that Palestinians assert East Jerusalem for the capital of a free state they look for. Israel says Jerusalem is its endless and unified capital.

Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner is leading an effort to craft a peace plan meant to launch negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians to end a decades-long conflict. A decision on when the initiative would be rolled out has not yet been made.

The State Department referred to the Islamist activist gathering Hamas’ control of Gaza as a component of its support for reallocating the assets. The United States and Israel assign Hamas as a terrorist group.

The choice is relatively sure to worsen the desperate compassionate circumstance in Gaza. In excess of 2 million Palestinians are stuffed into the Gaza Strip, which endures profound financial hardship.

“CHEAP BLACKMAIL”

Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Executive Committee member Hanan Ashrawi accused the Trump administration of using “cheap blackmail as a political tool.”

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

Ambassador Husam Zomlot, head of the PLO General Delegation to the United States, said in a statement: “Weaponising humanitarian and developmental aid as political blackmail does not work.”

The United States had in January announced it would withhold $65 million of $125 million that it had planned to send to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, which is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions from U.N. states, with the United states as the largest contributor.

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

U.S. National Security adviser John Bolton told Reuters this week that UNRWA was “a failed mechanism” that violated standard international law on the status of refugees. [nL8N1VD0AY]

UNRWA was founded in 1949 after the first Arab-Israel war, which led to 700,000 Palestinians being forced to leave their homes or flee. It helps around 5 million Palestinian refugees, a figure that includes descendants of those displaced by the fighting

Jordan, which has the biggest number of Palestinian evacuees in the Middle East outside Palestinian regions, cautioned for this present month that an extreme money related deficiency confronting UNRWA could have a “cataclysmic” effect on the lives of a large number of displaced people in the locale.

U.S. Representative Patrick Leahy, a Democrat, reprimanded the Trump organization’s choice.

“Occupants of Gaza are as of now enduring extreme hardships under the oppression of Hamas and fringe limitations forced by Israel. It is the Palestinian individuals, virtual detainees in an inexorably unpredictable clash, who will most straightforwardly endure the outcomes of this unfeeling and less than ideal endeavor to react to Israel’s security concerns.”

Moreover, J Street, a liberal star Israel gathering, considered the Trump organization’s turn an “ethical shock and a noteworthy vital bungle.”

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