The Trump administration’s decision to “redirect” over $200 million in humanitarian aid that was appropriated by Congress and intended to help Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank is a moral outrage and a major strategic blunder.
This is just the latest move by this administration to cruelly punish Palestinian civilians and marginalize and undercut Palestinian leadership. These cuts will undermine Israel’s security by exacerbating Gaza’s humanitarian crisis and further destabilizing the difficult situation in the West Bank — increasing the prospects for violence and unrest.
The cuts will have a devastating impact on innocent women, children and families. Some of the programs that are expected to end or be significantly scaled back include those providing food assistance services for tens of thousands of families; clinical breast cancer treatment for thousands of women; preventive and nutritional health services for 3,000 children and their caregivers; and youth engagement for over 50,000 young people intended to stem radicalization.
The administration’s decision to officially redirect these funds, which have already been withheld for months, follows on their similarly disastrous decision to withhold millions in funding for the Palestinian refugee agency, UNWRA. The UNRWA cuts have been implemented against the recommendations of the State Department, the Pentagon and the US intelligence community — and despite the fact that the IDF, and reportedly even Prime Minister Netanyahu’s government, have warned the president’s team that the cuts harm Israel’s security.
Through their refusal to disburse funds specifically allocated by Congress to aid the Palestinian people, the president and his administration are undermining the will of Congress and charting a dangerous course for US foreign policy. In response, Congress must make absolutely clear to the administration that these cuts are an unacceptable affront to the values, interests and security of the United States, Israel and the entire region.