On August 31, as the Guardian reported, the Trump administration cut all U.S. funding for the main UN programme for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA.
Elaborating on the decision, the State Department issued the following statement.
“The Administration has carefully reviewed the issue and determined that the United States will not make additional contributions to UNRWA….we made it clear that the United States was no longer willing to shoulder the very disproportionate share of the burden of UNRWA’s costs that we had assumed for many years.”
With the U.S. cutting funding, Germany, and other European countries promised to increase it. The State Department’s announcement, the Guardian noted, came only days after Trump announced the decision to withdraw $200 million in funding for USAid programmes based in Gaza.
Today, according to the Times of Israel, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed Trump’s decision, praising the U.S. President for cutting off funding.
“The U.S. did something very important by stopping the funding for the refugee perpetuation agency known as UNRWA. It is finally starting to solve the problem. The funds must be taken and used to genuinely help rehabilitate the refugees, whose true number is a fraction of the number reported by UNRWA.”
“This is a very welcome and important change, and we support it,” Netanyahu said.
In a statement published on Twitter, Israel’s Foreign Ministry also praised Trump, claiming that the UNRWA “perpetuates the myth of the eternal ‘refugee’ status of the Palestinians.’
A spokesman for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, however, criticized Trump’s decision, calling the maneuver an attack on the rights of Palestinians.
The decision to cut off funding “does not serve peace but rather strengthens terrorism in the region,” a spokesman for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said, according to The Hill.
Following the cutting off of aid, administration officials briefed on the matter told CNN that predominantly three individuals in the Trump administration pushed for it: White House senior adviser, and Donald Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley.
— The Times of Israel (@TimesofIsrael) September 2, 2018
.@UNRWA perpetuates the myth of the eternal “refugee” status of the Palestinians. The sole purpose is sustaining an illegitimate instrument aimed at the destruction of the State of Israel . @UNRWA is part of the problem, not of the solution. @IsraelMFA
— Emmanuel Nahshon (@EmmanuelNahshon) September 2, 2018
Apart from cutting aide, the administration will also call for a large reduction in the number of Palestinians considered to be refugees, according to CNN‘s sources.
Jared Kushner, Mike Pompeo, and Nikki Haley’s support for the maneuver hardly comes as a surprise. As the Inquisitr reported when Jared Kushner was about to embark on a tour of the Middle East, the Kushner family foundation is known to support Israeli causes, including Israel’s army, the Israel Defense Force. Additionally, Jared and his father, Charles, reportedly increased their line of credit with an Israeli bank to as much as $25 million.
In June this year, as reported by Reuters, the United States withdrew from the United Nations Human Rights Council, citing alleged bias against Israel. Standing with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Nikki Haley lauded the decision, accusing other UN members of thwarting U.S. efforts to reform the council.
Washington’s withdrawal, according to Reuters, prompted criticism from various human rights groups, including Human Rights First, Save the Children, CARE, American Civil Liberties Union’s Human Rights Program, to name a few.
World diplomats and other UN members protested the withdrawal as well, but evidently to no avail.