US Ends Humanitarian Aid for Palestinians

No more back to school? UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krähenbühl condemned cut in US aid that threatens to send Palestinian schoolchildren in the Occupied Territories back to the streets

The UN Relief and Work Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East began operations in 1950, funded by volunteer contributions from UN member states, to provide relief for Palestine refugees after the 1948 Arab-Israeli conflict. UNRWA provides education, medical care and emergency assistance to more than 5 million Palestinian refugees in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria, and since the agency’s beginning, the United States was the largest bilateral donor. The Trump administration has now announced an end to that support, calling UNRWA “irredeemably flawed” and “unsustainable,” due to support for the descendants of original refugees. About three-quarters of UNRWA staff are teachers, and experts warn program cuts could push hundreds of thousands of students into the streets. The United States seeks a new definition and limits for the term “refugee.” Palestinians and Israelis are still in conflict over territory and other issues, and the peace process is stalled. The United Nations expresses hope that other member states increase their contributions. – YaleGlobal