Palestinian FM rebukes US freezing funds for UNRWA

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki has rapped US decision to stop funds for United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA) calling that an attack on international law.

“The US administration has begun to attack the rights of the Palestinian people and international law,” Maliki said at a meeting of the Arab League in Cairo on Tuesday convened to discuss the issue.

Late last month, the Trump’s administration decided to cancel all US funding to the UNRWA, part of a policy to impose maximum pressure on the Palestinians to satisfy the Israeli regime’s interests and Zionist constituencies in the US.

The US administration has already announced a steady stream of cuts in aid for Palestinians. The US State Department announced in January that it would withhold $65 million of a $125 million aid installment to UNRWA.

The State Department also announced that Washington has canceled over $200 million in funds for the Palestinian Authority, leading Palestinian officials to denounce the move as “blackmail.”

A spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said on August 31 that the recent US decision in freezing the funding of the UNRWA is a “flagrant assault” against Palestinians.

“The consecutive American decisions represent a flagrant assault against the Palestinian people and a defiance of the UN resolutions,” Nabil Abu Rdainah said, adding, “Such a punishment will not succeed to change the fact that the United States no longer has a role in the region and that it is not a part of the solution.”

Ties between the US and Palestine have sharply deteriorated since Trump sparked international outrage on December 6, 2017 by declaring that Washington was recognizing Jerusalem al-Quds as the “capital” of Israel and that he had instructed his administration to begin the process of moving the American embassy from Tel Aviv to the ancient city.

The announcement prompted harsh international warnings that it would bring more chaos to the Middle East region. Several protests have been held in many countries over the past days against the US and Israel.

The political situation in Palestine has deteriorated after Trump took office in 2017 as Washington has been pursuing policies that favor the Israeli regime.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has broadly welcomed Trump’s support.

Jordan’s Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi also said that the US decision to stop funding the UNRWA would only fuel radicalism and harm prospects for Middle East peace.

Safadi, whose country is a key US ally, said at the Arab League that Jordan would hold a meeting “in cooperation with Sweden, Germany, Japan, the European Union and Turkey” on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly meeting later this month “in an effort to get more aid.”

The top Jordanian diplomat did not give more details.

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