US confirms additional cuts to PA

US official confirms cut in aid for programs supporting conflict resolution between Israelis and Palestinian Arabs.

Ben Ariel,

Donald Trump
Donald Trump
Reuters

A US official confirmed on Sunday that Washington has cut additional aid to the Palestinian Authority for programs supporting conflict resolution with Israelis, AFP reported.

The latest cuts come from $10 million in programs on reconciliation involving Palestinian Arabs as well as Jewish and Arab Israelis, according to the report.

The portion of the money involving Palestinians in Judea, Samaria and Gaza was being redirected to programs between Jewish and Arab Israelis, a US embassy official said.

It was not clear how much of the $10 million was being redirected.

The New York Times first reported on Saturday that the Trump administration had decided to cease funding the program which arranged meetings between Israeli and PA children.

US officials also could not confirm on Sunday whether the latest cut meant all non-security related aid to the Palestinians had now been eliminated.

"As announced in August, the administration redirected more than $200 million that was originally planned for programs in the West Bank and Gaza," a US embassy official said, according to AFP.

"At the same time we redirected a portion of the $10 million which was planned for conflict management and mitigation."

The official said the portion involving Palestinians in Judea, Samaria and Gaza would be used "to enhance" programs in Israel instead.

The move is the latest in a series of measures that US President Donald Trump has taken against the PA in recent months as the White House prepares a plan for Middle East peace which has been dubbed “The Deal of the Century”.

Trump's administration recently decided to completely halt its funding for the UN agency for “Palestinian refugees” (UNRWA), which had previously stood at around $350 million a year.

Later, it announced it would cut $25 million more in direct aid to six hospitals that primarily serve Palestinian Arabs in Jerusalem.

The PA leadership cut off contact with the White House after Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital in December.

Last week, Trump’s senior adviser Jared Kushner, who is one of the authors of the peace plan, told The New York Times that the Trump administration’s recent funding cuts to the PA do not impede the prospects of peace.

Nabil Abu Rudeineh, a spokesman for PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas, condemned Kushner’s remarks and said they are indicative of the fact that “[he] is unaware of the reality of the conflict, and is an attempt to mislead and falsify the history of Jerusalem and its Islamic and Christian sanctities.”


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