In a statement issued on Friday, the US State Department has announced that the Trump Administration is fully defunding the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), the body providing aid to Palestinian refugees.
The administration is citing the UNRWA’s recognition of in excess of five million Palestinian refugees, and the belief that this number will continue to rise. It comes amid recent US efforts to strip most Palestinians of refugee status, and a demand that the UNRWA “cap” the number of allowed Palestinian refugees in the world to 500,000.
US officials say they believe this is unsustainable, and that the funds provided in January will be the last funding the US provides to the UNRWA. This was cheered by Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu, who has long demanded the UNRWA shut down outright.
This is just the latest in a series of Trump Administration moves to cut aid to the Palestinians. The rest of the international community doesn’t appear to share the US position, and Germany has already announced it intends to boost funding to the UNRWA to sustain aid efforts.
The US is withdrawing $290 million, which will be spent elsewhere by the State Department.