TEL AVIV — The Trump administration on Tuesday informed the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which ministers to so-called Palestinian refugees, that it is providing tens of millions of dollars less than its annual pledge to the agency.
The Jerusalem Post reported:
Trump heeded the advice of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Secretary of Defense James Mattis and National Security Advisor H. R. McMaster— in addition to that of the Israeli government— and agreed to deliver $60 million in US assistance to the UN body for now, as opposed to cutting all aid outright. But the remaining pledge— $65 million— has been withheld “for future consideration,” according to a letter sent to the agency.
“There is a need to undertake a fundamental re-examination of UNRWA, both in the way it operates and the way it is funded,” a State Department official said.
The official was cited by the AFP framing the decision to withhold funds as intended to encourage “burden-sharing” by other U.N. members.
“The United States has been UNRWA’s single largest donor for decades. In years past, we contributed some 30 percent of UNRWA’s total income,” he said.
“Without the funds we are providing today, UNRWA operations were at risk of running out of funds and closing down.
“The funds provided by the United States will prevent that from happening for the immediate future.”
The definition of a Palestinian “refugee” and their actual numbers have long been the subject of debate.
Earlier this month, UNRWA would not comment when asked by Breitbart Jerusalem to provide the total number of Palestinian “refugees” that UNRWA services in Lebanon.