Weeks after American ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley suggested the U.S. would slash the funding it gives to the UN’s relief agency for Palestinian refugees, the Associated Press reported Saturday that the State Department is prepared to make the cut.
Its sources, who went unnamed, say that the Trump administration will likely announce this week that it plans on gutting funding for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees—“appear[ing] more likely” to give the agency $60 million of the $125 million it was slated to receive in an initial installment from the U.S.
Both Haley and President Donald Trump have maintained that the U.S. will reduce funding for the agency—which provides health care and social services to roughly five million Palestinian refugees—until Palestinian authorities re-enter peace talks with Israel, among other conditions. The AP reports:
Haley wants a complete cutoff in U.S. money until the Palestinians resume peace talks with Israel that have been frozen for years. But [Secretary of State Rex] Tillerson, [Secretary of Defense James] Mattis and others say ending all assistance would exacerbate instability in the Mideast, notably in Jordan, a host to hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees and a crucial U.S. strategic partner. [...]
The U.S. donated $355 million in 2016 and was set to make a similar contribution this year; the first installment was to have sent this month.
The U.S. has historically supplied about 30 percent of the agency’s total funding.