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US Ends All Funding for UN Palestine Refugee Agency

US Ends All Funding for UN Palestine Refugee AgencyUS Ends All Funding for UN Palestine Refugee Agency

Palestinian officials have sharply criticized a US decision to halt funding to the United Nations' agency assisting Palestine refugees across the Middle East, calling it a flagrant assault against Palestinian people.

The comments on Friday came shortly after the US government, a major ally of Israel, announced that it was stopping its funding to the United Nations Relief Works and Agency (UNRWA) after determining the organization to be an "irredeemably flawed operation," Al Jazeera reported.

In a statement, US State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said UNRWA's "endlessly and exponentially expanding community of entitled beneficiaries is simply unsustainable and has been in crisis mode for many years."

"The administration has carefully reviewed the issue and determined that the United States will not make additional contributions to UNRWA," Nauert said.

The move came a week after the US announced that it was also cutting more than $200 million in economic aid to Palestinians.

"The consecutive American decisions represent a flagrant assault against the Palestinian people and a defiance of UN resolutions," Palestinian Authority spokesperson Nabil Abu Rdainah told Reuters on Friday.

"Such a punishment will not succeed to change the fact that the United States no longer has a role in the region and that it is not a part of the solution."

Al Jazeera's Rob Reynolds, reporting from Washington, said the US decision was "likely to considerably worsen an already dire situation in parts of the Palestinian territories, especially in Gaza."

"They [the US] are justifying this largely on the grounds that the funding is mismanaged and that the agency itself wastes money and is inefficient," Reynolds said.

"This is part and parcel, together with the recognition of Beit-ul-Moqaddas as Israel's capital, of an effort by the Trump administration to really affect some radical changes and try to re-set the table in the Middle East."

UNRWA currently provides services to five million Palestinian refugees in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip, as well as Jordan, Lebanon and Syria.

 

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