“I praise the decision of the president of the United States to halt all funding of UNRWA - the body that enshrines the Palestinian refugee problem,” Israeli Intelligence Minister Israel Katz wrote on Twitter, according to Reuters.
The US announced on Friday that it will no longer support the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), a move that has deepened a cash crisis at the agency.
A spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas denounced the decision as “a flagrant assault against the Palestinian people and a defiance of UN resolutions.”
The 68-year-old agency says it provides services to about 5 million Palestinian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and the West Bank and Gaza. Most are descendants of people who were driven out of their homes or fled the fighting in the 1948 war that led to Israel’s creation.
US President Donald Trump and his aides claim they want to improve the Palestinians’ plight, as well as start negotiations on an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement.
But under Trump, Washington has taken a number of actions that have alienated the Palestinians, including the recognition of Jerusalem (Quds) as Israel’s capital. That move was a reversal of longtime US policy and led Palestinian leadership to boycott the Washington peace efforts being led by Jared Kushner, Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law.
The United States paid out $60 million to UNRWA in January, withholding another $65 million, from a promised $365 million for the year.