US cuts aid to Palestinians by more than $200 million

US cuts aid to Palestinians by more than $200 million

The Trump administration has decided to cut more than $200 million (€173m) in bilateral assistance to the Palestinians, following a review of the funding for projects in the West Bank and Gaza, according to US officials.

The State Department notified Congress of the decision today, according to the officials and aides.

But in a brief, three-paragraph notice sent to politicians, the department said it will redirect the money to “high-priority projects elsewhere”.

The move comes as President Donald Trump and his Middle East envoys, Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt, staff up their office to prepare for the roll-out of a much-vaunted peace plan for Israel and the Palestinians.

“At the direction of President Trump, we have undertaken a review of U.S. 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 State Department said in the notice.

“As a result of that review, at the direction of the President, we will redirect more than $200 million … originally planned for programs in the West Bank and Gaza,” it said.

“This 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,” the notice said.

The notice did not give an exact amount of the funds to be cut, but says it is more than $200 million that was approved in 2017.

The US had planned to give the Palestinians $251m for good governance, health, education and funding for civil society in the current budget year that ends on September 30.

But with just over a month to go before that money must be used, reprogrammed to other areas or returned to Treasury, less than half has actually been spent.

- Press Association

More on this topic

Israeli leader vows to annex West Bank settlement enclaveIsraeli leader vows to annex West Bank settlement enclave

More than two million Muslims in Mecca for start of annual hajj pilgrimageMore than two million Muslims in Mecca for start of annual hajj pilgrimage

Fundraising campaign set up for British man arrested at Oman airport ‘for swearing’Fundraising campaign set up for British man arrested at Oman airport ‘for swearing’

The Middle East does not need another warThe Middle East does not need another war

More in this Section

Spain on edge after two days of violent protests in CataloniaSpain on edge after two days of violent protests in Catalonia

Nasa says new spacesuits for moonwalking will consign bunny hops to historyNasa says new spacesuits for moonwalking will consign bunny hops to history

Brexit Secretary confirms Johnson would request Brexit delay if no deal is in placeBrexit Secretary confirms Johnson would request Brexit delay if no deal is in place

Warmer spring evenings causing birds to breed earlier, research findsWarmer spring evenings causing birds to breed earlier, research finds


Lifestyle

We know porridge is one of the best ways to start the day but being virtuous day in, day out can be boring.The Shape I'm In: Food blogger Indy Power

Sheila O’Flanagan can’t pin down an exact number of books she has written.First lady of fiction: Sheila O'Flanagan is happy to be accessible

This might not be the most entertaining topic but it is that time of year when colds, flus and nasty bugs enter classrooms and homes.Mum's the Word: Top tips for keeping nasty bugs and illnesses at bay

Laura Whalen is a Munster-based dollmaker and mother-of-five, and the founder of the Bábóg project, a community crafting drive to make a commemorative doll for all the babies born in Irish mother and baby homes.Made in Munster: Meet the West Cork dollmaker who uses bio-degradable materials for her craft

More From The Irish Examiner