22 September 2018

Palestinians decry US decision to end aid for agency

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A U.S. decision to cut all the funding for the UN’s Palestine refugee agency, UNRWA, has invited a storm of condemnations inside the Palestinian territories. reports citing Anadolu Agency.

“The U.S. has no right to support and bless theft of Palestinian land and illegitimate Israeli colonialism on Palestinian land,” Saeb Erekat, the Secretary-General of the umbrella Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), said in a statement on Saturday.

“It has no right to support and bless the theft of Jerusalem and its annexation to Israel,” he said.

Erekat said the U.S. decisions to end funding for UNRWA “embody annihilation of international law and security and stability in the region”.

“They are gifts for radical forces and terrorism in the region,” he said, going on to call on the international community to reject the U.S. move and provide all possible aid to UNRWA in respect of the UN resolution establishing the agency until the issue of refugees resolved.

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki, for his part, ruled out that the U.S. move would lead to dismantle UNRWA or marginalize the issue of Palestinian refugees.

“On the contrary, this decision will lead to strong responses from several states that will not accept the U.S. policy of thuggery against refugees,” al-Maliki said in a statement.

“Many countries will step up to protect the agency from [U.S. President Donald] Trump and his administration’s attack,” he added.

On Friday, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said Washington "will no longer commit further funding" for UNRWA.

"The fundamental business model and fiscal practices that have marked UNRWA for years – tied to UNRWA’s endlessly and exponentially expanding the community of entitled beneficiaries – is simply unsustainable and has been in crisis mode for many years," Nauert said.

The U.S. was by far UNRWA's largest funder, giving $350 million annually, or about one-quarter of the agency's budget.

Established in 1949, UNRWA provides critical aid to Palestinian refugees in the Gaza Strip, the Israeli-occupied West Bank, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria.

2018.09.01 / 16:37
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