President Donald Trump is making good on his word to cut funding to Palestinians.
As the United States gets closer to unveiling a Mideast peace plan it has been working on for Israel and Palestinians, word from the State Department indicates that the U.S. will cut $25 million in aid that was earmarked for Palestinians in East Jerusalem hospitals.
According to the State Department the decision came after a review of the assistance the U.S. gives to the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and Gaza.
The State Department said that it wanted “to ensure these funds were being spent in accordance with U.S. national interests and were providing value to the U.S. taxpayer.”
The State Department indicated following the review, that:
“At the direction of the President, we will be redirecting approximately $25 million originally planned for the East Jerusalem Hospital Network. Those funds will go to high-priority projects elsewhere.”
The State Department did not clarify as to what those “high-priority projects” might entail.
The Trump administration previously cut $200 million in aid to Palestinians in August.
The Palestinian Foreign Ministry spoke out against the termination of funds to the hospitals as an attempt to “liquidate the Palestinian cause.”
In a statement Ahmad Shami said:
“This dangerous and unjustified American escalation has crossed all red lines and is considered a direct aggression against the Palestinian people.”
There has been no elaboration about what actions the Palestinians might take, if any, for the crossing of the so-called “red lines.”
According to the World Health Organization, the assistance from the U.S. ensured that Palestinians could obtain needed specialized care and other medical services for children such as neonatal intensive care or dialysis which is not available in the West Bank and Gaza.
Many speculate that the Trump administration is using the cuts to force Palestinians to come to the negotiating table so that an agreement between Israel and Palestinians may be reached with input from all parties.
A spokesperson for Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, Ahmad Shami made it clear, that Abbas was angered by Trump’s latest move.
“This is not a formula of peace building, this is a complete inhuman and immoral action that adopts the Israeli right-wing narrative to target and punish Palestinian citizens to compromise their rights to independence.”
In June, Jared Kushner, Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law indicated that Trump would unveil his Israeli-Palestinian peace plan, even if Abbas was not willing to submit input to the agreement.
According to reports, Trump will unveil what has been dubbed the “deal of the century” during a speech before the U.N. General Assembly in September.
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