US aid cuts to East Jerusalem hospitals will have dire effects

Jumana Daoud carries her 7-month-old daughter Maryam at Makassed Hospital in East Jerusalem on Feb 20, 2017. (photo: Ahmad Gharabli / AFP)
Trump’s $25 million cut covers 40% of costs in six East Jerusalem hospitals that treat West Bank and Gaza patients.

By Staff | The Times of Israel | Sep 9, 2018

This decision could cause the collapse of these two respected hospitals [Augusta Victoria Hospital and St. John Eye Hospital] serving the Palestinian community.
— Dave Harden, former head of USAID in the West Bank and Gaza

The director of an East Jerusalem hospital said Sunday that a US decision to cut funding to hospitals serving the Palestinians will have a “severe effect.”

Bassem Abu Libdeh, of the Makassed hospital, said that the US currently covers 40 percent of costs in six East Jerusalem hospitals that provide care for Palestinians from the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

The Trump administration announced on Saturday it was cutting $25 million funding from the East Jerusalem Hospital Network, saying it would redirect the money toward “high-priority projects elsewhere.”

The fresh cuts mark the third week in a row the US has slashed financial support for the Palestinians and come a day after US President Donald Trump said American aid will be withheld until a peace deal is reached with Israel.

The network, which is made up of six hospitals in East Jerusalem, provides healthcare such as cancer treatment and operations for Palestinians to whom such medical assistance is unavailable in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, according to the World Health Organization.

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