JERUSALEM, Israel – President Trump said Thursday on a conference call with American Jewish leaders that he is using cuts to refugee aid money as a bargaining chip in order to bring back Palestinians to American-led peace negotiations.
“The U.S. has no right to support and bless theft of Palestinian land and illegitimate Israeli colonialism on Palestinian land. The U.S. decisions to end funding for UNRWA embody annihilation of international law and security and stability in the region. ” Saeb Erekat, the Secretary-General of the umbrella Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO)
Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki, for his part, ruled out that the U.S. move would lead to dismantle UNRWA or marginalize the issue of Palestinian refugees.
“On the contrary, this decision will lead to strong responses from several states that will not accept the U.S. policy of thuggery against refugees,” al-Maliki said in a statement.
“Many countries will step up to protect the agency from [U.S. President Donald] Trump and his administration’s attack,” he added.
In a statement to the U.N. Nikki Haley backed President Trump’s decision to cut the funding:
We have for two years asked UNRWA to reform itself because it has this ongoing number of refugees that is unsustainable.”
The U.S. State Department also responded to the situation with a clear and direct message:
“Washington will no longer commit further funding for UNRWA. The fundamental business model and fiscal practices that have marked UNRWA for years – tied to UNRWA’s endlessly and exponentially expanding community of entitled beneficiaries – is simply unsustainable and has been in crisis mode for many years,” ~ U.S. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert
Chris “Badger” Thomas is a Veteran who served our country as an Army Combat Medic.