The United States will give a U.N. agency $60 million in aid for Palestinians but will withhold a further $65 million “for future consideration,” a U.S. official said on Tuesday.
In keeping back some of the aid, Washington appeared to carry out a threat made by U.S. President Donald Trump in a Twitter post on Jan. 2 in which he said that Washington gives the Palestinians ”HUNDRED OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS a year and get no appreciation or respect.
“They don’t even want to negotiate a long overdue peace treaty with Israel … with the Palestinians no longer willing to talk peace, why should we make any of these massive future payments to them?” Trump added in his tweet.
The U.S. official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) that will receive the money needed to be fundamentally reevaluated “in the way it operates and the way it is funded.”
While the official did not link the U.S. decision to Trump’s tweet, he made a point often advanced by the U.S. president by saying the United States had been UNRWA’s single largest donor for decades and calling on other nations to do more.
“It is time other countries, some of them quite wealthy, step in and do their part to advance regional security and stability,” the official said.
On Sunday as he opened the meeting, Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas, lashed out at President Trump over recent policy moves.
Abbas, who is just completing the 13th year of his 4-year term, said to Trump: “Yehreb Beitak,” which literally translates as “may your house be destroyed.”
“UNRWA is an organization that perpetuates the Palestinian refugee problem. It also perpetuates the narrative of the right-of-return, as it were, in order to eliminate the State of Israel; therefore, UNRWA needs to pass from the world”, PM Netanyahu said earlier this month.
“This is an agency that was established 70 years ago, only for Palestinian refugees, at a time when the UNHCR deals with global refugee problems. Of course this creates a situation in which there are great-grandchildren of refugees, who are not refugees but who are cared for by UNRWA, and another 70 years will pass and those great-grandchildren will have great-grandchildren and therefore, this absurdity needs to stop”, Netanyahu added.