The US has finalized its aid freeze on the UN Palestinian refugee agency, the Review and Works Agency (UNRWA), confirming they will withhold over half of the $125 million pledged to the organization.
The US was expected to deliver the $125 million earlier this month, but didn’t. Officials later denied that the cut was finalized yet, but ultimately withheld $65 million, sending the remaining $60 million to the organization.
The move was part of President Trump’s promise to retaliate against the Palestinians for getting “no appreciation or respect.” There has, however, been concern that cuts to the UNRWA would impact Israel more than the Palestinians, as it’s going to fuel unrest within the occupied territories that the Israelis will be stuck dealing with.
US officials told the press the cuts are a message to the UN to change the way the UNRWA operates, though as is so often the case with US anger at such agencies, they offered no specifics on what changes they are actually demanding.
Trump has in general wanted the Palestinians to express gratitude for his position on the peace deal, and to accept his declaration of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. That clearly isn’t going to happen, so US moves against them are likely to continue.