Trump Looks to Cut Aid for Palestinians by Half

White House also considering attaching conditions to future U.S. contributions…

Palestinian flag photo

Photo by theglobalpanorama (CC)

(Daily Caller News Foundation) The Trump administration is weighing a hefty cut to U.S. aid to the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees, possibly slashing the first installment of 2018 by more than half.

President Donald Trump hasn’t yet signed off on a final amount, but he is leaning toward sending just $60 million of the planned $125 million to the U.N. Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), reports the Associated Press, citing U.S. officials.

The White House is also considering attaching conditions to future U.S. contributions, such as requiring Palestinians to revive negotiations with Israel before receiving more money.

The Department of State said over the weekend that funding levels are still “under review.”

A decision on the matter could come as early as Tuesday, according to the AP.

Trump had previously threatened to withhold U.S. funds to Palestinians in order to force them to restart moribund peace talks.

Earlier this month, he publicly questioned the wisdom of sending more money to Palestinians, who he said “don’t even want to negotiate” a peace settlement in the wake of his decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

“We have taken Jerusalem, the toughest part of the negotiation, off the table, but Israel, for that, would have had to pay more,” the president tweeted. “But with the Palestinians no longer willing to talk peace, why should we make any of these massive future payments to them?”

U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley has also taken a hard line on funding, suggesting the U.S. would reduce its contributions to both the Palestinian Authority and the UNRWA, which administers humanitarian services to Palestinian refugees.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Secretary of Defense James Mattis are reportedly backing the plan to withhold some money, having offered it as an alternative to more drastic cuts favored by Haley, reports the AP.

The secretaries have argued that cutting all assistance to UNRWA could exacerbate instability in the Middle East, particularly within strategic partners like Jordan.

Washington is currently the largest contributor to UNRWA by a wide margin, providing $368 million of the agency’s $1.2 billion budget in 2016.

The U.S. was set to contribute a similar amount this year, but the State Department put the payments under review following Trump and Haley’s criticism.


Palestinian refugees are given aid through UNRWA, which is a separate organization from the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees.

UNRWA uses a much broader definition of refugee than the U.N. high commissioner, applying refugee status to “a person whose normal place of residence was Palestine during the period 1 June 1946 to 15 May 1948, and who lost both home and means of livelihood as a result of the 1948 conflict,” and also to such a person’s descendants.

Since UNRWA does not cap the number of generations eligible for designation as refugees, the original Palestinian refugees can pass on that status to their descendants indefinitely.

Republished with permission from Daily Caller News Foundation via iCopyright license.

  • Yosemite Sam

    I would have no problem whatsoever if President TRUMP were to cut American financial aid to the Palestinians off completely. The Palestinians do not desire peace with Israel. If the Palestinians were to put down their weapons, Israel would make peace. On the other hand, if Israel were to take down their wall and put down their weapons Israel would be destroyed.

  • edinmountainview

    What about the idea of taking care of Americans first? You know, like feeding and sheltering United States citizen, repairing and/or maintaining our infrastructure. When we as a county are “fixed”, then and only then should we consider sending taxpayer money to those around the world that could use a helping hand. Humanitarian aid does not include providing weapons to the needy either.

    • iprazhm

      Exactly. The only reason President Trump is feeding this crocodile is to appease the appeasers in Washington. That’s not his job.

  • iprazhm

    To pay these Jew slaughtering terrorists of Islam one dime, is treachery!