The Trump administration is redirecting another $25 million in aid that was slated for Palestinian coffers to “high-priority projects elsewhere.”
By: World Israel News Staff
On Saturday, the Trump administration announced it is “reprogramming” $25 million in aid that had been earmarked for hospitals in Arab sections of Jerusalem. The funding will instead be directed to “high-priority projects elsewhere,” a move that follows the administration’s decision to stop funding the Palestinians’ dedicated United Nations agency, UNRWA.
The steps are the product of an expansive review of US assistance to the Palestinian Authority (PA), which has historically cost the Americans hundreds of millions of dollars a year. President Trump ordered the review to make sure aid complied with US national interest mandates.
The Palestinians labelled the latest aid cut “an act of political blackmail,” a common response from the PA when conditions are attached to international aid.
In addition to slashing more than $300 million in aid to UNRWA last week, the State Department announced a cut of over $200 million in bilateral aid to the Palestinians in late August.
PA lead negotiator Saeb Erekat responded to the latest cuts by accusing the US of operating in “bad faith” in a manner that disincentivizes moderate forces in the Middle East and encourages radicals instead.
“If the art of their negotiations is to put us in a position where we have nothing to lose, I think they succeeded,” said Erekat according to the Times of Israel.
Whether Erekat’s comment regarding “nothing to lose” represents a veiled threat to Israel or the US remains unknown, however, the PA negotiator did not communicate any willingness to return to negotiations, a condition that Trump recently claimed must be fulfilled before any additional aid will be released to the Palestinians.
“The United States was paying [the Palestinians] tremendous amounts of money. And I say, ‘You’ll get money, but we’re not paying until you make a deal. If you don’t make a deal, we’re not paying,’” Trump stated during a conference call last week in anticipation of the Jewish New Year with a number of American Jewish leaders.