President Trump cuts aid to the Palestinian Authority and Gaza by more than $200 million
The Trump administration announced on Friday that it has decided to cut $200 million from the aid budget to the Palestinian Authority and Gaza, that was approved by Congress earlier this year.
Most of this money was supposed to support humanitarian and economic projects in Arab towns in Judea-Samaria and Gaza, and was not meant to go directly to the Palestinian Authority.
After the announcement a U.S. State Department official said, “this decision takes into account the challenges the international community faces in providing assistance in Gaza, where Hamas control endangers the lives of Gaza’s citizens and degrades an already dire humanitarian and economic situation.”
Congress originally approved $250 million for Palestinian Authority and Gaza aid for the current fiscal year. Out of that entire budget, the Trump administration has so far released tens of millions of dollars that went to support the Palestinian Authority’s security forces. The rest of the money was being held as part of an internal administration “review” of aid.
Following the decision announced on Friday, it will be transferred to other places, which have not yet been specified.
Israel and Jordan, in particular, had lobbied for the security assistance to be continued.
The loss of the assistance is almost certain to further provoke Hamas, Fatah and other terror groups and Arab factions against the Trump peace plan.
❌ GAZA: Great-grandchildren of refugees protest today against US aid cut to UNRWA by burning an effigy of President Trump in their traditional death-to-US ceremony. pic.twitter.com/CRtP3kRFTg
— Behind The News (@Behind__News) February 11, 2018
The Palestinian Authority leadership has been openly hostile to any proposal from the administration, citing what it says is a pro-Israel bias, notably after Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December and moved the US embassy there in May.
The Palestinian Authority and its chairman Mahmoud Abbas broke off contact with the US after the Jerusalem announcement.
Earlier this week, President Trump said that it is now the Palestinians’ “turn to get something.”