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Trump Axes Aid for Palestinian Hospitals

Trump Axes Aid for Palestinian HospitalsTrump Axes Aid for Palestinian Hospitals

US President Donald Trump has cut one of its last remaining aid programs for Palestinians, a move that is going to affect critical patients, including cancer victims and children with serious health conditions.

Washington’s decision on Saturday to scrap its $25 million financial assistance to a network of six hospitals in occupied East Beit-ul-Moqaddas was sharply criticized by Palestinian leaders and health officials, who called it a “cruel” and “unjustified” act of “political blackmail,” Al Jazeera reported.    

The withdrawing of the funds came months after Trump—whose administration has yet to present a long-touted peace plan for Palestine—called for a review of the US assistance to the Palestinian Authority.

“As a result of that review, at the direction of the president, we will be redirecting approximately $25 million originally planned for the East Beit-ul-Moqaddas Hospital Network. Those funds will go to high-priority projects elsewhere,” the US State Department said in a statement on Saturday.

So far, the US funds had made it possible for Palestinians to seek specialized treatment such as cardiac surgery, neonatal intensive care, radiation therapy or children’s dialysis.

These treatments are not available in the occupied West Bank or Gaza, according to the World Health Organization.

Speaking to Al Jazeera, a senior official working in the Beit-ul-Moqaddas network of hospitals called the US decision “inhuman and cruel” and urged the international community to intervene.

“We are the only entity that provides critical health services not available elsewhere in Palestine,” said Walid Nammour, chief executive officer at Beit-ul-Moqaddas Agusta Victoria Hospital.

“Patients should not be caught in the middle of political issues.”

  Political Blackmail

The PA also called the move “an inhuman and immoral action.”

“This is not a formula of peace-building. This is a completely inhuman and immoral action that adopts the Israeli right-wing narrative to target and punish Palestinian citizens to compromise their rights to independence,” said Ahmad Shami, spokesperson for PA President Mahmoud Abbas.

“Such an act of political blackmail goes against the norms of human decency and morality,” added Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the Palestine Liberation Organization executive committee.

Last month, the Trump administration ended a $200 million economic assistance for the West Bank and Gaza as part of its USAID program.

A week later, the US halted all funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees, which provides much-needed services to Palestinians within and outside the occupied territories.

 

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