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UN Palestinian Agency Calls For Donations After US Freezes Funds

UN Palestinian Agency Calls For Donations After US Freezes Funds

The check, Washington promised, would be formally approved in the first week of January. De Croo said the allocation was made in response to the USA funding cut which left UNRWA with a payment of just $60 million for the first of two annual contributions to its budget.

UNRWA, the United Nations refugee agency responsible for Palestinians, will launch a global fundraiser to make up for tens of millions of dollars withheld by U.S. President Donald Trump. In 2017, the U.S.

Israel had urged the U.S. to stop funding UNRWA, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu saying last week that the agency "must disappear from the world".

Even if Washington provided the additional $65 million, the $125 million total would be well below the $355 million that a United States official said it gave UNRWA in the 2017 fiscal year ended September 30. "But with the Palestinians no longer willing to talk peace, why should we make any of these massive future payments to them?"

For now, the Trump administration has yet to inform the United Nations whether it will abide by its promise to pay for the food aid or whether its commitment will be subject to a new review in the wake of Trump and Haley's demands that the Palestinians pledge peace talks in exchange for humanitarian assistance.

UNRWA was created almost 70 years ago, after the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, to assist more than 700,000 displaced Palestinians.

The agency now offers support to approximately five million Palestinians in education, healthcare and housing, and is active in Palestinian occupied territories, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan. We also hope that this decision is not part of an American political framework to impose positions on the Palestinians, which will never work.

President Donald Trump questioned the value of sending such aid after Palestinian leaders said they would reject any USA role in mediating peace talks with Israel after Trump announced plans to move the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

"This is not aimed at punishing anyone", Nauert said Tuesday, as she outlined the United States decision to release $60 million in funding for the agency, while indefinitely withholding another $65 million.

Apparently, administrators at UNWRA weren't listening: dozens of teachers at UNRWA-run schools in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria who had received termination notices at least two months ago were laid off this past Tuesday. The money, which is primarily earmarked for salaries for teachers and health workers, can not be used to cover the $45 million food bill. The decision comes two weeks after President Trump questioned the value of the funding, and it is aimed at encouraging reform at the agency.

However, on Tuesday State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert did not mention Palestinians returning to negotiations as a condition for releasing the frozen funds. The letter also makes clear that additional USA donations will be contingent on major changes by UNRWA, which has been heavily criticised by Israel. "So we're asking other countries to do more". It also outlined the fact that it was one of the few countries to pledge multi-annual funding to UNRWA.

The move has sparked an outcry from some in the assistance community.

- We hope that this USA decision is not the beginning of complicit actions with the radical Israeli attempts to undermine the existence and hinder the work of UNRWA with its incessant attempts to camouflage the iniquity rather than find just solutions. Danon said, "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", reported the Jerusalem Post. "It is time for this absurdity to end".

"The U.S. Administration seems to be following Netanyahu's instructions to gradually dismantle the one agency that was established by the global community to protect the rights of the Palestinian refugees and provide them with essential services", the PLO said in a statement.

The United States, far and away the largest donor to UNRWA, pledged $355 million toward agency operations in 2016.

The reduced US contribution "threatens one of the most successful and innovative human development endeavors in the Middle East", he wrote.

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