Trump Administration’s Decision to Permanently Halt All Aid to Palestinian Refugee Agency Endangers Entire Region

August 31, 2018

In response to the Trump administration’s announcement today that it will permanently halt all funding to the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami released the following statement:

“The Trump administration’s announcement today that it will permanently halt all funding from the United States to the Palestinian refugee agency, UNRWA, has the potential to harm millions of innocent civilians. This decision will ratchet up the risk of greater destabilization and conflict across the Middle East, undermining the security of Israel and countries throughout the region.

The disastrous announcement comes only days after the administration announced that it would ‘redirect’ $200 million in Congressionally-allocated humanitarian aid intended for Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank. Today’s decision continues the administration’s disturbing pattern of actions that ignore the recommendations of US and Israeli intelligence and military leaders and appear designed to exacerbate suffering among the Palestinian people and marginalize the Palestinian Authority leadership.

Through its actions, the administration is recklessly endangering the security of Israel and countries across the region, most notably Jordan — a key ally of both the US and Israel that hosts over two million Palestinian refugees and is vitally dependent on continued UNRWA funding to ensure its stability.

Breaking with the United States’ longstanding role as a mediator and leader for peace in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, this administration has refused to clearly endorse a two-state solution, instead adopting policies that actively damage the prospects for peace. Leaders of both parties in Congress have a responsibility to make clear to this administration that it must immediately reverse its unacceptable actions.

Congressional leaders must demand US leadership that works to bring about peace in the region — not dangerous actions that undermine the core security, values and interests of the United States and its allies.”

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