The World Food Program (WFP) is to cut food aid next year to about 190,000 Palestinian Arabs in Gaza and Palestinian Authority (PA)-assigned areas of Judea and Samaria due a shortage of funds, the WFP's senior official for the “Palestinian Territories” said on Wednesday, according to Reuters.
The move follows the slashing of US aid funding to humanitarian agencies working in the region by the Trump administration.
"WFP has been forced, unfortunately, to make drastic cuts to the number of people that we support across Palestine, both in Gaza and the West Bank," WFP country director Stephen Kearney told Reuters.
From January 1, the United Nations agency will suspend food assistance to 27,000 people in Judea and Samaria. In addition, food aid to 165,000 people in the region and in the Gaza Strip would be reduced by 20 percent from US$10 to US$8 per person each month, according to the report.
Kearney told the news agency that the US cuts affected 40 per cent of total WFP funding.
"The major donor that we have had in the past years has been the US They have cut funding, not just to UNRWA, who work with the refugees in Gaza, but also to the rest of the humanitarian community, including WFP," he said.
The United States, the largest single contributor to UNRWA, announced in August that it would end its $350 million a year funding for the agency, describing the organization as an “irredeemably flawed operation”.
That announcement followed a previous US announcement in January that it would cut some of its funding to UNRWA due to a need to undertake a fundamental re-examination of the organization, both in the way it operates and the way it is funded.
In addition to the cuts to UNRWA, the US announced that it will cut almost all of its aid to the PA, having previously provided around $500 million a year through different mechanisms.
Kearney told Reuters that Gaza's underlying problems would remain as long as Israel maintained its blockade and the factional infighting between Hamas and Fatah continued, preventing a political solution.
A spokesman for the Palestinian Authority declined comment on the US cut.
In Gaza, Fawzi Barhoum, spokesman for the ruling Hamas terrorist group, urged the United Nations to "continue to provide the needs of the Palestinian people until they regain their freedom."
The PA has repeatedly asked for foreign donations in recent years, claiming it is on the verge of collapse due to a worsening financial crisis.
At the same time, while blaming Israel for the PA’s financial woes, its chairman Mahmoud Abbas continues to spend six percent of the PA’s annual budget to pay $4.5 million a month to jailed terrorists and another $6.5 million to their families.