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United States ends all funding to UNRWA

Sept. 1, 2018 11:28 A.M. (Updated: Sept. 3, 2018 2:20 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- The United States (US) officially cut all funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), on Friday, calling the agency an "irredeemably flawed operation."

The statement, issued by US State Department Spokeswoman Heather Nauert, said "the administration has carefully reviewed the issue and determined that the United States will not make additional contributions to UNRWA."

According to the Washington Post, the statement added that the US remained "very mindful of and deeply concerned regarding the impact upon innocent Palestinians, especially school children."

Nauert said that UNRWA's "endlessly and exponentially expanding community of entitled beneficiaries is simply unsustainable and has been in crisis mode for many years".

UNRWA provides services to some 5 million Palestinian refugees; the US decision would also be recognizing only half a million of a total of 5.3 million Palestinian refugees.

Palestinian Ambassador to the United States, Husam Zomlot said, in a statement, that "by endorsing the most extreme Israeli narrative on all issues including the rights of more than 5 million Palestinian refugees, the US administration has lost its status as peacemaker and is damaging not only an already volatile situation but the prospects for future peace in the Middle East."

The US decision comes after its administration had announced in January that it was cutting its funding for UNRWA by more than half; despair and protests were widespread among Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip over recent months, 1.9 million Palestinians have been living under siege for 11 years, 1.3 of whom are refugees depending on aid.
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