Saturday, 21 April, 2018

Will Trump and Israel Cut Off Aid to Millions of Palestinian Refugees?

Will Trump and Israel Cut Off Aid to Millions of Palestinian Refugees? Will Trump and Israel Cut Off Aid to Millions of Palestinian Refugees?
Ben Pena | 10 January, 2018, 12:20

In his interview with Palestinian radio, Erekat added that the American administration wants to impose dictates on the Palestinian leadership by the way of "abolishing UNRWA, cutting aid, starving refugees and closing schools". He added that the organization "must disappear" because the Palestinians' right to return to Israel was a stance meant to eliminate the State of Israel.

On Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he agreed with Trump's reported decision to cut funding.

Israel is deeply critical of UNRWA, charging that the organization harbors terrorists and perpetuates the Palestinian "refugee" problem indefinitely, thus blocking a potential resolution to the conflict.

For example, Breitbart Jerusalem reported last week that the agency was unable to confirm whether its statistic of 500,000 was a true reflection of the number of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon when that country's own bureau of statistics cites 175,000 - almost two thirds less than UNRWA's number.

The decision was spurred by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas's unwillingness to participate in peace talks with Israel following US President Donald Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of the Israeli state December 6. The Palestinians have strongly protested the decision, and Trump has threatened to take action against those who challenged him.

Earlier in the week, Trump complained on Twitter that "we pay the Palestinians HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS a year and get no appreciation or respect".

American man charged with Calgary swatting incident
A short time later 911 received a call from a woman who lived at the home claiming she believed she was a swatting victim. Siegenthaler said she had contact with Barriss earlier in the day, but did not elaborate on their relationship.

Zanoun expressed hope that Hamas will attend the meeting if not by its people in Gaza for fear of arrest by Israel since they can only reach Ramallah through Israel, then by its representatives in the West Bank.

In addition to its services in Gaza, UNRWA operates in Jordan, Syria and Lebanon.

In 2016, the United States gave more than $350 million to UNRWA to provide education, health, social welfare and other services to Palestinian refugees in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and other refugee concentrations in the Middle East.

UNRWA is entirely dependent on voluntary contributions from United Nations member states, and in 2016, the USA funded nearly 30 percent of UNRWA's budget, by providing over $368 million.

Chris Gunness, an UNRWA spokesman, said the refugee crisis was being perpetuated by "failure of the parties to deal with the issue..."

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