i24News: Global aid leaders urge US to reverse UNRWA fund slash

The letter called the cut a “dangerous and striking departure” from America’s history of support

The top executives of 21 leading humanitarian aid groups signed a joined letter to US officials on Wednesday urging them to reverse the funding cut to the United Nations Relief and Work Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), the New York Times reported on Wednesday.  

Calling the cut a “dangerous and striking departure” from America’s history of support, the world aid leaders expressed their concern at the White House’s controversial decision to halve its payments to the organization stating that it would disrupt Palestinian access to basic needs such as food, health care and education.

The letter was addressed to leading figures in the Trump administration including Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, the American ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, and Trump’s national security adviser, Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster

President Donald Trump announced the freeze last week, that would see a reduction of payments from a current $125 million to $60 million, was the latest in a string of blows affecting the Palestinians since the US’s controversial decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

UNRWA, the second biggest employer of the Palestinians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip after the Palestinian Authorities, stated that it had already began to feel the impact with dozens of teachers in East Jerusalem and workers in refugees camps losing their jobs, according to Haaretz.

“We are particularly alarmed that this decision impacting humanitarian aid to civilians is not based on any assessment of need, but rather designed both to punish Palestinian political leaders and to force political concessions from them,” the joint letter from the non-governmental organizations (NGO’s) wrote, which included signatures from Save the Children, Oxfam America, CARE USA, Refugees International and the International Rescue Committee.

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