US to end Palestinian refugee UN aid program funding

August 31, 2018

The White House is reportedly planning to cut all its funding to the United Nations aid program for Palestinian refugees and to slash by 90 per cent the number of people it recognises as refugees, as part of Washington’s policy to “break and re-make” the Middle East.

Conservatives leader Cory Bernardi successfully argued for cuts to funding for the Palestinian Authority earlier this year and has long argued for cuts to foreign aid and transparency in tracking every dollar spent.

The Australian reports, in an announcement expected next month, Donald Trump and Jared Kushner, his son-in-law and Middle East adviser, are expected to attack the way the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) spends it funds.

It comes just a week after the State Department announced that more than $200 million in direct aid to the West Bank and Gaza would be “redirected” elsewhere.

The administration is also planning to slash the number of people it recognises as Palestinian refugees from 5.5 million to just 500,000, in a move that would effectively remove the issue of the right of return of Palestinian refugees to Israel.

Mr Kushner and Jason Greenblatt, the US envoy to the Middle East peace process, are working on what is claimed will be “the most detailed peace plan ever” and “the deal of the century”.

In recently leaked emails, Mr Kushner described the UNRWA as “corrupt and inefficient,” and told colleagues: “It is important to have an honest and sincere effort to disrupt UNRWA... it doesn’t help peace.”

Senator Bernardi has told Paul Murray Live on Sky News the Palestinian Authority has long been a law unto itself.

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