US cuts more than $200 million in aid to Palestinians

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WASHINGTON: The United States has said that it had canceled more than $200 million in aid for the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and West Bank, leading their ambassador to accuse President Donald Trump’s administration of being “anti-peace.”
A senior State Department official said the decision, made “at the direction of the president,” came after a review of aid programs to the Palestinian territories.
The funding previously allocated for programs in the West Bank and Gaza will “now address high-priority projects elsewhere,” said the official.
The move “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,” he said.
In January, the United States had already made drastic cuts to its contribution to the UN agency for Palestinian refugees UNRWA.
Relations between the US administration and the Palestinian Authority took a nosedive after Trump announced the US decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
The Palestinians have suspended contacts with the administration and consider that it can no longer play a mediation role in the Middle East peace process.
“This administration is dismantling decades of US vision and engagement in Palestine,” Husam Zomlot, head of the Palestinian General Delegation to the United States said in a statement.
“After Jerusalem and UNRWA, this is another confirmation of abandoning the two-state solution and fully embracing (Israeli Prime Minster Benjamin) Netanyahu’s anti-peace agenda.”– Agencies

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