American Arab group condemns U.S. cut in aid to United Nations agency

UNRWA a lifeline we can't afford to lose, refugees say

The decision comes two weeks after President Trump questioned the value of the funding, and it is aimed at encouraging reform at the agency. She said the U.S.is instead asking other governments to "step up to the plate" and increase funding for the agency.

U.S. State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said in announcing the funding cut Wednesday at a briefing that the $65 million was being withheld but so far, not eliminated.

Ms. Anderson, who is from Derry, described the decision taken by the Trump administration as "deplorable" and predicted it would have a "devastating impact" on people living in Palestine. It is to an agency of the United Nations that is responsible for supporting and alleviating the plight and suffering of Palestine refugees, particularly in the fields of education and health care.

UNRWA which provides education, health and social welfare services to Palestinian refugees in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, Lebanon, Syria and Jordan, is reportedly facing its worst funding crisis ever.

The Trump administration has cut tens of millions of dollars in money for Palestinian refugees, demanding that the United Nations agency responsible for the programs undertake a "fundamental re-examination", the State Department said. "When we say that we're basically looking at the fact that you've got, basically they're considering Palestinian as a refugee". 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.

State Department officials insisted the decision was not taken to pressure Palestinian leaders, but because the U.S. wants other countries to help pay for and reform UNRWA.

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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.

It is important to note that the US contribution to UNRWA represents neither support nor assistance to the Palestinian National Authority, to the Palestinian people in general or the development of the Palestinian economy.

The Alliance of Baptists' Community for Justice in Palestine & Israel urged members to write letters asking Congress to reject any USA funding cuts for UNRWA and to reverse the administration's decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

Last summer after it was discovered that Hamas built tunnels running below two United Nations schools in Gaza, Netanyahu said, "I told U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley that it's time to dismantle UNRWA".

"UNRWA has proven time and again to be an agency that misuses the humanitarian aid of the worldwide community and instead supports anti-Israel propaganda, perpetuates the plight of Palestinian refugees and encourages hate", he said.

"Given the long, trusted, and historic relationship between the United States and UNRWA, this reduced contribution threatens one of the most successful and innovative human development endeavors in the Middle-East", said UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krähenbühl.

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