US President Donald Trump rejected a request by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to allow the transfer of millions of dollars to the Palestinian Authority (PA)’s security forces, according to a US based news site Axios.
The appeal came several months ago after the State Department realised that $12 million in aid to PA security forces had neither been stopped, nor transferred amid its aid cuts to the Palestinians.
Israeli Ambassador to the US Ron Dermer along with other Israeli asked the US to allow the money to be transferred to PA security forces, who collaborate with Israeli security in the occupied West Bank “to support their counter-terror efforts”.
Trump refused the request, stating: “If it is that important to Netanyahu, he should pay the Palestinians the $12 million.”
The Trump administration has cut a significant amount of funds to Palestinian agencies and official bodies in recent years, resulting in funding being halted to both the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah and to NGOs in Gaza earlier this year.
The US was previously one of the largest donors to the Palestinians and the PA, providing upward of half-a-billion dollars a year through the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which provides education, shelter and basic essential support to millions of Palestinian refugees, but has withdrawn its funding, a move encouraged by Netanyahu.
Infrastructure projects, including water treatment facilities in the Gaza Strip, have also been put on hold.
Despite senior White House officials noting that the funding to PA security forces issue was “very important for Netanyahu,” the transfer of the $12 million did not occur, according to the report.