by WorldTribune Staff, August 26, 2018
U.S. President Donald Trump ordered the slashing of $200 million in aid to the Palestinian Authority (PA), the State Department said on Aug. 24.
The announcement came after a review examining U.S. aid to the PA was ordered, with the Trump administration saying it sought to ensure any funds sent to the PA “are spent in accordance with U.S. national interests and provide value to the U.S. taxpayer.”
“As a result of that review, at the direction of the president, we will redirect more than $200 million in [fiscal year 2017] economic support funds originally planned for programs in the West Bank and Gaza. Those funds will now address high-priority projects elsewhere,” the State Department said.
In January, Trump slammed the PA over its refusal to deal with the U.S., saying his administration should not continue to give “massive payments” to the Palestinians when they are “no longer willing to talk peace.”
“We pay the Palestinians HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS a year and get no appreciation or respect,” Trump tweeted. “They don’t even want to negotiate a long overdue peace treaty with Israel. We have taken Jerusalem, the toughest part of the negotiation, off the table, but Israel, for that, would have had to pay more.”
Meanwhile, an Israeli TV report on Aug. 25 said the Trump administration is set to formally reject the Palestinian demand for a “right of return” to Israel for millions of so-called refugees and their descendants.
Washington will announce a policy that “from its point of view, essentially cancels the ‘right of return,’ ” the Channel 2 report said.
Palestinian “refugees” are the only “refugees” in the world who pass that status on to their descendants. The demand for “right of return,” one of the core issues for Palestinians, would see the so-called refugees and their descendants — who reportedly now number around 5 million — be allowed to return to Israel, which has categorically rejected the demand.
The U.S. is set to release a report in early September claiming that there are only some half-a-million Palestinians who can legitimately be defined as refugees, the report said.
The State Department said control of the Gaza Strip by the terror organization Hamas was partly to blame for cutting funds to the Palestinians, saying the cuts take “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.”