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Trump to cut funds to Palestinian hospitals in Jerusalem

Sept. 8, 2018 4:40 P.M. (Updated: Sept. 15, 2018 4:25 P.M.)
Al-Makassed Hospital in East Jerusalem
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- The United States announced, on Saturday, that it will cancel $20 million in aid to Palestinian hospitals of occupied East Jerusalem.

A US State Department Official told Israeli news outlet Haaretz the decision against the hospitals is part of the administration's broader approach of cutting Palestinian aid and investing it in other priorities.

The decision comes weeks after the US had announced that it will cut all funds to the United Nations Relied and Aid Agency (UNRWA) and the cut of $200 million for economic and social projects for the Palestinians.

Haaretz reported that "the budget cut could cause harm to at least five hospitals in East Jerusalem, including Augusta Victoria hospital near Mt. Scopus and the St. John Eye Hospital, which is the main provider of eye treatments for Palestinians in the West Bank and East Jerusalem."

"There was indication of the influence of Christian groups supporting these hospitals earlier this year, when congress approved the Taylor Force Act, which put severe restrictions on U.S. funding for Palestinians."

Addressing a conference of Jewish leaders in the US on Thursday, President Donald Trump admitted that his goal is to use US funds to get the Palestinians to surrender to his terms.

US President Donald Trump said, on Thursday, that the aid cut decision was to pressure Palestinians to return to UN-led negotiations with Israel.

"I told them, we're not paying you until we make a deal. If we don't make a deal, we're not paying."

Dave Harden, a former U.S. official who was in charge of USAID in the West Bank, warned, on Friday, that the decision could lead to the "collapse" of Augusta Victoria hospital.

Augusta Victoria and other East Jerusalem hospitals not only serve the Palestinian population of the city, but also Palestinians from Gaza and the West Bank, including cancer patients and children
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