US to stop funding UN’s Palestine agency

Jeremy Corbyn leader of the U.K. Labour Party speaks at a launch event for the party's local election campaign in London U.K

Trump Admin Ending UN Aid To Palestinian Refugees

The Trump administration is preparing to cut almost $300 million in planned funding for the U.N. Palestinian refugee agency.

"The United States will no longer commit further funding to this irredeemably flawed operation".

Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said a meeting next month in NY on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly would mobilise support for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) to continue core education and health services.

According to a report in the Washington Post on Thursday, the Trump administration will announce in the next few weeks that it is cancelling all United States funding for the Palestinians' dedicated UN agency.

The statement criticized the "fundamental business model and fiscal practices" of UNRWA, and what the department characterized as the "endlessly and exponentially expanding community of entitled beneficiaries".

"Any shortage in funding will drive hundreds of thousands towards deprivation and despair", Safadi, whose country has 2.2 million United Nations registered Palestinian refugees, said in Amman after meeting Pierre Krahenbuhl, the UNRWA head.

The agency was founded in 1949 after the first Arab-Israeli war in the wake of the exodus of about 700,000 refugees who fled or were driven out of Israel on its founding as a state.

"The consecutive American decisions represent a flagrant assault against the Palestinian people and a defiance of United Nations resolutions", Palestinian Authority spokesperson Nabil Abu Rdainah told Reuters news agency on Friday.

The White House is also expected to announce that it is abandoning the traditional definition of a Palestinian refugee and will only recognise around 500,000 Palestinians as having actual refugee status.

Senior members of the Trump administration have been overtly critical of UNRWA, including national security adviser John Bolton.

Speaking before the announcement on UNRWA, its representative in Washington, Elizabeth Campbell, said the withdrawal of USA funding would leave the agency facing a financial crisis, but noted that Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and others have provided more than $200 million in new funding to help cover its budget this year.

The administration has yet to confirm its plans. She called on Middle East nations to increase aid.

US President Donald Trump and his aides say they want to improve the Palestinians' plight, as well as start negotiations on an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement.

There is deepening global concern over deteriorating humanitarian conditions in the West Bank and Gaza, and the USA decision to defund provoked strong and polarized reactions in Washington.

The State Department did not address concerns that the US may try to pressure the United Nations into reducing the number of Palestinians given refugee status.

"The continuation of UNRWA means continued commitment by the global community to working towards a just solution of the refugees that guarantees the right of return and compensation", Safadi said.

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