This piece was originally published in the Jerusalem Post.
In recent days, the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) has reported that donations from Gulf counties and others have contributed to dramatically reduce the agency’s budget deficit for 2018 – a deficit occasioned in large part by US President Donald Trump’s decision to cut all US support for UNRWA. This is good news for Palestinian civilians who depend on the critical assistance that UNRWA provides, but it does not alter Trump’s wrong-headed decision to deny life-sustaining aid earlier this year. Nor should it end efforts by members of the US Congress to push back on this unfortunate decision.
As the former US official in charge of relief to Palestinian refugees, I was dismayed by the president’s decision, which was first announced in August. At about $360 million per year, the United States had been UNRWA’s largest country donor.