US cuts $200 million in aid to Palestinians. Palestinians call Trump’s move ‘cheap blackmail’

Fishing boats are seen at the seaport of Gaza City August 15, 2018. REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa
Fishing boats are seen at the seaport of Gaza City August 15, 2018. REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa

The United States is cutting more than $200 million in aid to the Palestinians, the State Department said on Friday, amid a deteriorating relationship with the Palestinian leadership.

A senior State Department official said without elaborating that the funds, originally planned for programs in the West Bank and Gaza, would address “high-priority projects elsewhere.”

“We have undertaken a review of U.S. assistance to the Palestinian Authority and in the West Bank and Gaza to ensure these funds are spent in accordance with U.S. national interests and provide value to the U.S. taxpayer,” the official said in a statement.

“As a result of that review, at the direction of the president, we will redirect more than $200 million in FY2017 Economic Support Funds originally planned for programs in the West Bank and Gaza.”

Asked where the money would be redirected and whether it would go to other Palestinian projects, another State Department official said: “We will work with Congress to redirect these funds to other policy priorities.”

Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity.

The announcement came at a time when the Palestinian leadership has angered the White House by boycotting its peace efforts since President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and moved the embassy there, reversing decades of U.S. policy.

The status of Jerusalem – home to sites holy to the Muslim, Jewish and Christian religions – is one of the biggest obstacles to any peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians.

Palestinians claim East Jerusalem for the capital of an independent state they seek. Israel says Jerusalem is its eternal and indivisible capital.

Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner is leading an effort to craft a peace plan meant to launch negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians to end a decades-long conflict. A decision on when the initiative would be rolled out has not yet been made.

The State Department cited the Islamist militant group Hamas’ control of Gaza as part of its justification for reallocating the funds. The United States and Israel designate Hamas as a terrorist group.

The decision is almost certain to exacerbate the dire humanitarian situation in Gaza. More than 2 million Palestinians are packed into the Gaza Strip, which suffers deep economic hardship.

“CHEAP BLACKMAIL”

Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Executive Committee member Hanan Ashrawi accused the Trump administration of using “cheap blackmail as a political tool.”

“The Palestinian people and leadership will not be intimidated and will not succumb to coercion,” she said.

Ambassador Husam Zomlot, head of the PLO General Delegation to the United States, said in a statement: “Weaponizing humanitarian and developmental aid as political blackmail does not work.”

The United States had in January announced it would withhold $65 million of $125 million that it had planned to send to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, which is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions from U.N. states, with the United states as the largest contributor.

UNRWA and the Palestinians have warned that cuts could exacerbate hardship in Gaza, an enclave that has been under Israeli and Egypt blockades designed to isolate its Islamist Hamas rulers.

U.S. National Security adviser John Bolton told Reuters this week that UNRWA was “a failed mechanism” that violated standard international law on the status of refugees.

UNRWA was founded in 1949 after the first Arab-Israel war, which led to 700,000 Palestinians being forced to leave their homes or flee. It helps around 5 million Palestinian refugees, a figure that includes descendants of those displaced by the fighting

Jordan, which hosts the largest number of Palestinian refugees in the Middle East outside Palestinian territories, warned this month that a severe financial shortfall facing UNRWA could have a “catastrophic” impact on the lives of millions of refugees in the region.

J Street, a liberal pro-Israel group, called the Trump administration’s move a “moral outrage and a major strategic blunder.”
J Street, a liberal pro-Israel group, called the Trump administration’s move a “moral outrage and a major strategic blunder.”

U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy, a Democrat, criticized the Trump administration’s decision.

“Inhabitants of Gaza are already suffering severe hardships under the tyranny of Hamas and border restrictions imposed by Israel. It is the Palestinian people, virtual prisoners in an increasingly volatile conflict, who will most directly suffer the consequences of this callous and ill-advised attempt to respond to Israel’s security concerns.”

J Street, a liberal pro-Israel group, called the Trump administration’s move a “moral outrage and a major strategic blunder.”

  • vs

    No more farasitinians. Usual Orabistinians

  • vs

    in early September, will
    be published a special report of the US administration, which will
    change the criteria for granting status to Falsetinian refugees. The
    criteria of UNRWA, where today there are 5 million refugees, will be
    changed, because this status is inherited for many generations. According
    to the new criteria to be determined in the report, the number of Faliestinian refugees will be about half a million, that is – 10 times
    less

  • No

    The West views Welfare as a) a temporary obligation of wealth societies to help individuals in times of unusual need, and b) a moral failing of both the individual and of society should the aid continue for too long a period of time.

    Hanan Ashrawi and Husam Zomlot seem to believe that welfare, in the form of international aide is a right to which they and their society are entitled now and into the indefinite future.

    Americans and the United States do not agree with the notion of a recipient staying on Welfare for decades. President Bill Clinton, a Democrat, famously campaigned on a promise to the American people to “end welfare as we have come to know it”. Now, a Republican president is doing likewise.

    Everyone become healthier, once the temporary period of acute need passes, and people get off of Welfare and back to the reality of living sustainable lives. Self-sustainability is essential both at the scale of individuals and of aspiring countries.

  • Niemals

    “CHEAP BLACKMAIL”….
    https://youtu.be/LVWL9VWdXc4

  • vs

    * I was now in such a wonderful place as the state of Israel.

    * I tell you a strange thing – the Orabs are rising all over the Middle East against their governments.

    * And there is only one state in the entire Middle East, in which Orabs live, not rebelling against the government. Do you know what this state is called? The State of Israel. One and a half million Orab population among 8 million Israel.

    * Why do not rebel – for this you need to see the Orab villages in Israel. These are villages in which houses are twice as tall and twice as wide as any house in an Israeli village. And why are they twice as high? Because Orabs do not pay taxes.

    * They do not pay taxes to the “bloody Zionist regime” – naturally, why should they support Israeli fighters?

    * They pay no taxes, and at the same time enjoy all the benefits that this state provides them free of charge!

    *
    They do not receive any papers – all these houses are often built
    illegally, and if you begin to demolish them, then a cry about the
    Zionist occupiers.

    *
    These villages – some are more hostile to Jews, some are not at all
    hostile, but there are no super-joyful relationships there.

    *
    All the same, these people do not pay taxes and will not pay, and these
    people do not consider themselves bound by Israeli laws.

    *
    But at the same time, all democratic rights of the state are widely
    used: they regularly receive unemployment benefits, allowances for
    children, enjoy all the advantages of the most advanced Israeli
    medicine, etc., etc.

    * These people elect some strange representatives to the Israeli parliament, which then meet with Hamas.

    *
    But, in fact, every person from this village who utters all the
    necessary words about the “Zionist regime”, he understands that he has a
    big house, and the best in the whole Middle East is much better than in
    any unhappy Libya, is much better than in some unfortunate Gaza.

    * Because in Gaza there are amazing houses, too, there are such houses that simply will not yield to Putin’s palace. But these are the houses of leaders. And inside Gaza itself, if it’s not the leaders, not those who distribute money from Europe, humanitarian aid is shacks.

    *
    And so, in the Orab villages in Israel there is no such thing – all the
    houses are very large, if you do something, and the Orab works quite a
    bit, he is not often employed in high-tech jobs, there is never an
    industrial zone near the Orab village, especially the high-tech zone, most often this is agriculture, this is tax-free construction. Sometimes this is some more advanced work.

    * All Israeli Orabs perfectly understand that they exist so well only within the state of Israel.

    *
    Because it’s good when Jews pay taxes when they build roads, when they
    develop the infrastructure of the state, when Jews care about their
    health care. It is good to exist as such a parasite!

    *
    Because if tomorrow the state of Israel collapses and any Jamahiriya
    comes and announces that everything here belongs to the people, then
    these big houses will not exist, only the local friend Gaddafi will have
    big houses.

    *
    And there will be no roads, there will be no health, in general,
    nothing will happen, and the Orabs will start eating each other, as is
    happening now in the neighboring Orab states. Instead of eating each other, only thanks to the “bloody Zionist regime.”

    *
    That’s why the Israeli Orabs, in fact, do not want and are very afraid
    of the collapse of Zionist education, where else and under what regime
    will they be able to live so freely?

    (Yulia Latynina)

  • Niemals

    An Arabic-speaking Facebook page with false statements – originally from Sweden…⚠️⚠️⚠️
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/5a87831ae8c64f7e0590e34768770e7eb739d459eb4a47bc54a9c9aa4affa07a.jpg or is it uncalculated confession….. 🤨 ⚠️

    • Niemals
      • Niemals

        Unbelievable that no one on this forum volunteered to translate the text I come over from the Swedish Banana Republic 🍌🍌🍌.

        Now you can see how the Social media weapon is working, and that without InfoWars / Alex Jones – Twitter permanently bans Alex Jones and InfoWars.😎

        The party called the Swedish Democrats (SD) and the Conservative Party New Moderates (M) in Sweden are parties that have in their program the following.
        1 – Change many laws that specifically concern immigrants and Muslims in particular.
        2 – Closing the mosques and forbidding veil below 18 years.
        3 – Close the Islamic cemeteries.
        4 – Forbidden halskraut
        5. Close all Islamic schools
        6. Expulsion of a large number of refugees to their home countries.
        7 – Accuse parents of crimes to take Muslim children from their families.
        8 – Limit work and social contributions to immigrants and Muslims.
        9 – Abolition of the Employment Service and removal of all financial assistance for new arrivals.
        10 – Try to conflicts and panic between Muslims and Swedes via the people who vote for the racist party.

  • vs
  • vs

    Tony
    : “I saw a Falestinian for sale on eBay, but the seller had clearly stated : ” No returns accepted “.

  • vs

    Attention! Attention! Attention! 13,000 UNRWA employees in Gaza intend to hold a protest at the Erez checkpoint lollollol