United States suspends $125mn UNRWA payment

Jerusalem should be shared capital UK

Jerusalem should be shared capital UK

On Friday, in a report denied by a State Department official, the Axios news site said Washington had frozen $125 million in funding for UNRWA.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister's office in Jerusalem January 7, 2018.

Netanyahu made nearly identical comments about dismantling UNRWA in June - a message he said at the time he had conveyed to the USA ambassador to the United Nations.

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) needs to pass away from the world, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday, amid reports that Israel really doesn't want the U.S. to stop funding the organization.

Speaking with Sputnik Radio's Loud & Clear about Trump's threat to axe funding to the Palestinians, cofounder of The Electronic Intifada, Ali Abumimah, said it would be important to determine whether the funding cuts would hit UNRWA or the Palestinian Authority. He added that the organization "must disappear" because the Palestinians' right to return to Israel was a stance meant to eliminate the State of Israel. The agency provides education, social services and healthcare to more than 5 million Palestinian refugees.

In the wake of the furious Palestinian reaction to Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital and their declaration that the United States is no longer an "honest broker" in the peace process, the Trump administration is debating whether to reduce funding to the Palestinian Authority and to UNRWA.

"What perpetuates the refugee crisis is the failure of the parties to deal with the issue", he wrote in a statement. "UNRWA is mandated by the General Assembly to continue with its services until a just and lasting solution is found for the Palestine refugees". The diplomats reportedly said that the funding is being frozen until the Trump administration finishes a review of United States aid to the Palestinian Authority.

"It should be determined in a negotiated settlement between the Israelis and the Palestinians, and Jerusalem should ultimately be the shared capital of the Israeli and Palestinian states".

In a statement to The Jordan Times on Sunday, UNRWA Spokesperson Sami Mshasha said that the relief agency, "only through the media", learned that the USA administration has frozen its funding for the agency.

The United States is the largest single donor to UNRWA, contributing $368 million of its $1.2 billion annual budget a year ago alone.

Most UNRWA assistance is distributed to Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria.

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