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Fatah condemns US decision to withhold $65 million in funds for UNRWA

Jan. 20, 2018 4:48 P.M. (Updated: Jan. 23, 2018 1:48 P.M.)
(AFP, File)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- The Fatah movement, the leading party of the Palestinian Authority (PA), released a statement on Thursday condemning US President Donald Trump’s plans to withhold $65 million in planned funding for the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), the UN Agency providing assistance to Palestinian refugees.

Trump made the announcement earlier this week after a series of threats he made earlier this month, where he accused Palestinians of showing "no appreciation," and said payments were conditional on other countries "stepping up to the plate" and contributing more.

“It is important to note that the U.S. contribution to UNRWA represents neither support nor assistance to the PA to the Palestinian people in general or the development of the Palestinian economy,” Fatah said in a statement.

“It is to an agency of the United Nations that is responsible for supporting and alleviating the plight and suffering of Palestine refugees, particularly in the fields of education and health care. UNRWA delivers vital humanitarian and development assistance, affecting significant accomplishments for millions of refugees within its five fields of work (the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria).”

The movement criticized the US action, saying it will “threaten severe deprivation putting Palestinian refugees at even more serious risk.”

“In light of the importance of UNRWA's work and the consequences of the U.S. step, Fatah Movement strongly condemns this step and affirms the following:

-We believe that the methods of extortion and pressure of the U.S. Administration on the United Nations, especially with regard to programs that do not suit Israel and right wing extremists, are unacceptable to the international community and UN member states.

- UN resolutions, particularly resolution 194, affirm that the basic requirement for Palestinian refugees is to achieve their rights, which the international community has not effected for various reasons, including U.S. positions. It is even more appalling and cruel to also cut assistance funding for Palestine refugees.

- We hope that this U.S. decision is not the beginning of complicit actions with the radical Israeli attempts to undermine the existence and hinder the work of UNRWA with its incessant attempts to camouflage the iniquity rather than find just solutions. We also hope that this decision is not part of an American political framework to impose positions on the Palestinians, which will never work.

Fatah Movement reaffirms the vital need for UNRWA to continue to achieve its mission to support Palestinian refugees and to make every effort to achieve their right of return, to the restitution of their property, especially their individually owned lands, and compensation, which could lead to the achievement of peace in the Middle East.”

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