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U.S. aid funding for Palestinians thrown into doubt by $65m payment 'freeze'

19 January, 2018, 02:04 | Author: Kristen Ingram
  • US aid funding for Palestinians thrown into doubt by $65m payment 'freeze'

"We would like to see some reforms be made", State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert told reporters on Tuesday.

The State Department said it was releasing the rest of the installment - Dollars 60 million - to prevent the agency from running out of cash by the end of the month and closing down. "This is not aimed at punishing anyone". "We need to start really looking at foreign policy and seeing what the USA goals are and where we want to go". "We would like other countries - in fact, other countries that criticize the United States for what they believe to be our position vis-a-vis the Palestinians, other countries that have criticized us - to step forward and actually help with UNRWA, to do more".

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, on the other hand, has praised the move saying it is good that the U.S.is challenging UNRWA, the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees. In an effort to bridge the gap, Tillerson proposed during a luncheon last week with Trump splitting the difference and giving the U.N. $60 million, just under half of the $125 million the United States was due to pay UNRWA on January 1.

"Funding UNRWA or any humanitarian agency is the discretion of any sovereign member state of the United Nations", he said, in a statement. Its commissioner-general, Pierre Krähenbühl says that given the long-standing relationship between the agency and the US, "this reduced contribution threatens one of the most successful human development endeavors" in the Middle East.

President Abbas noted that Palestine would no longer accept the lead role that the USA government played in the mediation of the peace process between them and Israel after the Trump administration announced that they were going to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel formally.

The Palestinians are "not serious in truly getting to peace" with Israel, US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said in a Voice of America interview with Greta Van Susteren on Wednesday.

"A big part of the reason we didn't, after a lot of interagency deliberations".

"The Forum's contribution requires UNRWA to end the automatic registering in perpetuity of (1) the descendants of refugees, (2) those who hold a nationality, and (3) those who live in their purported homeland, the West Bank and Gaza".

"There is a need to undertake a fundamental re-examination of UNRWA, both in the way it operates and the way it is funded", one official said on condition of anonymity.

The US has announced that it will hold back more than half of the funding it provides for a United Nations agency that supports Palestinians, about two weeks after President Donald Trump threatened to pull funding for the group.

- We hope that this USA decision is not the beginning of complicit actions with the radical Israeli attempts to undermine the existence and hinder the work of UNRWA with its incessant attempts to camouflage the iniquity rather than find just solutions.

"The American administration reaffirms its complicity with the Israeli occupation and preempts the issues of a permanent solution by removing the refugee issue from the table and targeting innocent people, specifically this vulnerable segment of the Palestinian people", she added.

In a statement on behalf of the PLO executive committee, Hanan Ashrawi accused the White House of "following Netanyahu's instructions".

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