The Trump administration announced Friday that it is cutting nearly $300 million in planned funding for a United Nations agency that aids Palestinian refugees after finding the operation “irredeemably flawed.”
The State Department said in a statement that after contributing $60 million to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East in January, “the United States was no longer willing to shoulder the very disproportionate share,” Fox News reports.
The U.S. supplies nearly 30 percent of the total budget of the U.N. Relief and Works Agency, or UNRWA, and had been demanding reforms in the way it is run. The department said in a written statement that the United States “will no longer commit further funding to this irredeemably flawed operation.” The decision cuts nearly $300 million of planned support.
“Beyond the budget gap itself and failure to mobilize adequate and appropriate burden sharing, the fundamental business model and fiscal practices that have marked UNRWA for years – tied to UNRWA’s endlessly and exponentially expanding community of entitled beneficiaries – is simply unsustainable and has been in crisis mode for many years.
When we made a U.S. contribution of $60 million in January, 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. Several countries, including Jordan, Egypt, Sweden, Qatar, and the UAE (United Arab Emirates) have shown leadership in addressing this problem, but the overall international response has not been sufficient.” ~ State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert
President Trump has been saying from the beginning of his run for Presidency that other nations need to step up and do their part, “share the burden”.
On Tuesday, Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, complained that “Palestinians continue to bash America” although it’s the main donor for UNRWA. Speaking at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies think tank, Haley also said, “we have to look at right of return” of those classified as Palestinian refugees. She called on Middle East nations to increase aid.
A spokesman for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas slammed the Trump administration’s plan to end funding for a U.N. refugee program that aids Palestinian refugees, calling the move an “attack” on the rights of Palestinians.
The decision “does not serve peace but rather strengthens terrorism in the region,” Abu Rudeneh said, according to the AP.
“This decision, which violates all resolutions of international legitimacy, requires the United Nations to take a firm stand against the U.S. decision and to take appropriate decisions,” Abu Rudeneh continued, The Hill reported.