The US administration has told Israel that Washington will allow the Gulf states to transfer budgets this year to the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in order to ensure its immediate operation, the Israeli news company Channel Two reported Saturday.
But this American approval, according to the channel, will be on US terms – namely that the sponsoring countries commit themselves to redefining the status of UNRWA and the definition of Palestinian refugees, with the aim of achieving the full closure of the Agency in the future.
“I welcome the US president’s decision to stop all funding (UNRWA), which is active in perpetuating the problem of Palestinian refugees and demanding the right of return,” the channel quoted Israeli Transport Minister Yisrael Katz as saying.
“I also welcome the American aspiration to seek alternative ways of providing direct assistance to the humanitarian population only. The American decision is a full support for Israel’s position, which completely rejects the right of return for the Palestinians,” Katz said.
Jordan expressed its concern about the repercussions of the Trump decision to cut funding. The Jordanian Foreign Ministry said it “regrets” Trump’s decision, pointing out that Jordan is recruiting budgets to solve UNRWA’s economic crisis. The Ministry also warned of the consequences of President Trump’s resolution on regional stability if UNRWA is unable to meet its commitment to assist some 5 million Palestinian refugees.
The US State Department announced on Friday evening that it would stop aid to UNRWA, adding that the United States would seek alternative ways of giving aid. A senior Palestinian Authority official responded to the US decision as “an attack on the Palestinian people.”
“The United States has decided it will not make additional financial contributions to UNRWA,” State Department spokesman Heather Nauwert told a news conference in Washington.
“This is because America is no longer willing to bear the disproportionate share of the costs it has been contributing to for many years,” she said.
“The basic business model and financial practices that UNRWA has been pursuing for many years from an ever-expanding and incremental community of deserving beneficiaries is unsustainable and has been in a crisis situation for many years,” she said, referring to the children of the refugees and their descendants.
“The United States is no longer committed to this irreparably flawed process,” he said.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said: “Israel supports the US move towards UNRWA. The consolidation of Palestinian refugees by UNRWA is one of the main problems that perpetuate the conflict. It is therefore better to transfer budgets to other parties that will use them appropriately for welfare. Population and not to perpetuate the refugee situation, “as he put it.
“The US decision to cancel UNRWA’s budget is an important decision that effectively negates long-standing Palestinian demand for the right of return of millions of refugees and their descendants to Israel,” said the Middle East Forum’s Research and Policy Institute, which advises Trump’s administration.
“The detailed plan we submitted at the request of the US State Department to dismantle UNRWA and transfer the aid required for its original mission is the first step in this plan. We must now work to find the right ways to allow humanitarian support rather than violence, corruption and stagnation in order to find a solution to the conflict. ”
According to reports from last week, in addition to stopping the transfer of budgets to the Agency, the White House will also request a significant reduction in the number of Palestinians recognized as refugees. Trump will also invest the budgets that have reduced UNRWA’s own program to the independent policy of his government in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.