The US State Department announced on Friday that the United States (US) decided to cut over $200m of its aid to the Palestinians, following a review of the funding for projects in the West Bank and Gaza.
In a statement to the US Congress regarding the decision, the department said the money will be redirected to “high priority projects elsewhere.”
“At the direction of President Trump, we have undertaken a review of US assistance to the Palestinian Authority and in the West Bank and Gaza to ensure these funds are spent in accordance with US national interests and provide value to the US taxpayer,” the department said, adding “as a result of that review, at the direction of the president, we will redirect more than $200 m … originally planned for programmes in the West Bank and Gaza.”
The US move comes amid tensions between the Trump administration and the Palestinian Authority following the relocation of the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
The statement of the department clarified that the decision “takes into account the challenges the international community faces in providing assistance in Gaza, where Hamas control endangers the lives of Gaza’s citizens and degrades an already dire humanitarian and economic situation.”
On the other hand, a member of the Palestine Liberation Organisation Executive Committee, Hanan Ashrawi, said that the US administration was using “cheap blackmail as a political tool”, ,” adding that “there is no glory in constantly bullying and punishing a people under occupation,.” continuing, “The US administration has already demonstrated meanness of spirit in its collusion with the Israeli occupation and its theft of land and resources; now it is exercising economic meanness by punishing the Palestinian victims,” said Ashrawi.
Trump’s administration announced before a plan that is drawn up by Jared Kushner, Trump’s adviser and son-in-law, to end the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, the plan known as “deal of the century” and is rejected by the Muslim world as it makes Jerusalem an Israeli land. Talks between the US and the Palestinian Authority have been delayed by a months-long Palestinian talks’ boycott with the Americans to protest Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.