Gaza, ALRAY - Just months after scaling back financial support for the United Nations agency that provides humanitarian aid to more than 5 million Palestinian refugees, the Trump administration has decided to end funding altogether, Foreign Policy Magazine reported Wednesday.
The magazine reported that the decision was made at a meeting earlier this month between President Donald Trump’s advisor and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, according to the sources. The administration has informed key regional governments in recent weeks of its plan.
A State Department spokesperson declined to comment on the meeting but said that “U.S. policy regarding UNRWA has been under frequent evaluation and internal discussion.”
The United States had been providing the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, or UNRWA, some $350 million a year—more than any other country. The sum amounted to more than a quarter of the agency’s $1.2 billion annual budget.
Last Friday, UN Commissioner-General Pierre Cranebel said the US decision earlier this year to cut UNRWA's budget came to punish the Palestinians for criticizing Washington's recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
Pierre Krähenbühl, UNRWA’s commissioner-general, told FP last week that his agency has raised more than $238 million from other countries, including wealthy Persian Gulf nations, in an effort to fill the gap. But the agency is facing a shortfall of more than $200 million.