Trump Cuts UNRWA Funding Amid Abbas Assault

The Fellowship  |  January 16, 2018

A Palestinian United Nations employee stands guard at the entrance of the UNRWA headquarters in Gaza City on January 8, 2018. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called for the closure of the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees, days after US President Donald Trump threatened to cut Palestinian aid. / AFP PHOTO / MOHAMMED ABED (Photo credit should read MOHAMMED ABED/AFP/Getty Images)

In the wake of worsening relations between Washington and Ramallah – especially in light of Mahmoud Abbas’ recent anti-Israel speech – American funding of Palestinians will be lessened. The Jerusalem Post’s Michael Wilner reports that the United States has informed the U.N.’s agency for Palestinian relief that its funding will be cut by tens of millions of dollars:

The Trump administration informed the UN Relief and Works Agency on Tuesday that it was cutting tens of millions of dollars in aid to the organization, amid an escalating diplomatic crisis between Washington and Ramallah, a US official told The Jerusalem Post.

Trump heeded the advice of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Secretary of Defense James Mattis and National Security Advisor H. R. McMaster— in addition to that of the Israeli government— and agreed to deliver $60 million in US assistance to the UN body for now, as opposed to cutting all aid outright. But the remaining pledge— $65 million— has been withheld “for future consideration,” according to a letter sent to the agency.

While the policy decision came out of the State Department, which faced a dues payment this week, the question of how to proceed became an inter-agency debate amongst Trump’s top foreign policy staff and involved the president himself. Only one of those figures— Nikki Haley, Trump’s ambassador to the UN— advocated for a full and immediate aid cut…

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