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PLO slams US aid cuts to Palestine

August 26, 2018 at 1:03 pm

A Gazan boy walks with his younger sibling through their poverty stricken neighbourhood in Gaza on 4 September 2013 [Ezz Zanoon/Apaimages]

The umbrella Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) has slammed a US decision to cut more than $200 million in aid to the Palestinians.

“This is flagrant declaration that the real aim of US aid is to interfere in the internal affairs of other peoples and affect their national rights,” PLO Secretary-General Saeb Erekat said in a statement on Saturday.

Erekat said the US decision to cut aid “is a sign that [Washington] had abandoned its international obligations”.

“The Palestinian people reject any conditional aid,” he stressed.

A senior State Department official said Friday that the US cut more than $200 million in aid to Palestine following a review initiated by US President Donald Trump.

In a statement, the official said the funds originally intended for the West Bank and Gaza Strip will instead be used for “high-priority projects elsewhere.”

“At the direction of President Trump, we have undertaken a review of US assistance to the Palestinian Authority and in the West Bank and Gaza to ensure these funds are spent in accordance with US national interests and provide value to the US taxpayer,” he said.

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“As a result of that review, at the direction of the President, we will redirect more than $200 million in FY2017 Economic Support Funds originally planned for programs in the West Bank and Gaza,” the official added, referring to the 2017 fiscal year.

In January, the Trump administration had made drastic cuts to its contribution to the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA.

Trump has sparked a global anger over his decision to unilaterally recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital last December. The move undercut long-standing underpinnings of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks where the city’s status was to be determined as a final-status issue.