On Tuesday, the U.S. held back $65 million scheduled for payment to the UN agency for Palestinian refugees. This was done two weeks after President Trump threatened any future payments.The UN warned on Wednesday it faced its worst funding crisis after the White House froze tens of millions of dollars, a move Palestinian leaders claimed was cruel and blatantly biased.
The agency provides Palestinian refugees and their descendants across West Asia with services including schools and medical care, but Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has long accused it of hostility toward Israel and called for its closure. Some five million Palestinians are eligible for its service.
The United States is the largest contributor to the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine refugees [UNR-WA]. “The U.S. announced it would contribute $60 million to the program budget. There is for the moment no other indication of possible funding,” UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness said. ” This dramatically reduced contribution results in the most severe funding crisis in the history of the agency.”
Senior Palestinian officials reacted with outrage to what they see as another move against them by President Trump’s White House following his declaration of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. The Palestinian envoy to Washington, Husam Zomlot stated, “The access to basic humanitarian services is not a bargaining chip but the U.S. and global obligation.”
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