US cutting all funding to Palestinian refugee agency

A Palestinian woman rides in a car after collecting aid provided by the UN agency for Palestinian refugees UNWRA, in Gaza City, Jan 17, 2018. (photo: Mohammed Abed / AFP)
The US provides almost 30% of UNRWA budget.

By Staff and Agencies | The Times of Israel | Aug 31, 2018

[The US] will no longer commit further funding to this irredeemably flawed operation.
— US State Department statement
The loss of this organization could unleash an uncontrollable chain reaction.
— German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas

The Trump administration announced Friday it is cutting nearly $300 million in planned funding for the UN agency that aids Palestinian refugees, and that it would no longer fund the agency after decades of support. Instead, it said it would seek other channels by which to aid the Palestinians.

The administration castigated the UN’s Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) for failed practices, and indicated that it rejected the criteria by which UNRWA defines Palestinian refugees, whereby the UN agency confers refugee status not only on original refugees but on their millions of descendants. . . .

“The fundamental business model and fiscal practices that have marked UNRWA for years — tied to UNRWA’s endlessly and exponentially expanding community of entitled beneficiaries — is simply unsustainable and has been in crisis mode for many years,” the statement said, a reference to the fact that the agency grants refugee status to all the descendants of the original Palestinian refugees, something not granted by the UN to refugees from any other places.

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