The Trump administration froze a payment of $125 million to the UN agency for Palestinian “refugees” and is reviewing any future funding of the organization.
By: World Israel News Staff
The US froze a $125 million grant to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, Israel’s Channel 10 News and the American Axios news site reported on Friday.
Citing three Western diplomats who asked to remain anonymous, the reports said the grant was due to be delivered on January 1 and that the amount frozen is one-third of the US annual funding to UNRWA.
For now, the money has been frozen while the US reassesses the situation. US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley announced earlier in the week that the Trump administration will halt aid to the Palestinians unless they agree to come to the negotiating table and participate in peace talks with the Israelis.
President Donald Trump “doesn’t want to give any additional funding until the Palestinians agree to come back to the negotiating table,” Haley stated on Tuesday.
On that same day, Trump tweeted, “We pay the Palestinians HUNDRED OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS a year and get no appreciation or respect…with the Palestinians no longer willing to talk peace, why should we make any of these massive future payments to them?”
Incitement to terror against Israel in UNRWA schools along with the documented use of its facilities as storage spaces for Hamas rockets and weapons have made the agency the target of vociferous criticism by Israeli officials.
Earlier this year, Israel’s UN ambassador Danny Danon called on donor countries to investigate UNRWA’s alleged ties with the Hamas terrorist organization that controls the Gaza Strip. The envoy made his request after several reports emerged of UNRWA employees’ election to the Hamas political leadership.
“In light of these disturbing revelations, it is crucial to conduct a thorough investigation of the organization’s operations in order to ensure that no employee who is involved in terror play any role in UNRWA or the UN,” Danon wrote in a letter to ambassadors from a number of countries that financially support the agency.
“It is time to put an end to the absurd reality in which UNRWA staff, who are expected to provide humanitarian assistance, are instead acting on behalf of terror organizations,” he said.
Palestinian refugees unlike all others
UNRWA was established in 1948 to assist the 750,000 Palestinians who had left Israel. Since then, it has been promoting the Palestinian cause, funding as many as five million “refugees” – the majority of whom never left the homes where they were born in the Gaza Strip, Judea and Samaria, eastern Jerusalem or Arab countries – to the tune of $1.23 billion annually.
UNRWA treats Palestinian refugees differently than other refugees around the world. The UN defines “Palestinian refugees” to include all descendants of the original refugees from the year 1948—the only exception to the legal definition of refugees in the world. Meanwhile, the nearly-one million Jewish refugees in 1948, as well as their children and grandchildren, are not considered refugees by the UN and are not allowed to return to their homes in Arab lands.
Additionally, unlike other refugees, only Palestinian refugees have their own UN Agency: UNRWA. Because the children born to the 1948 Palestinian Arab refugees are also considered refugees, Palestinians are the only refugees whose numbers are increasing exponentially from year to year.
Many in Congress have been saying since 2012 that the majority of Palestinians are permanently settled and should not be under the jurisdiction of a refugee agency.