World News

Arab states to push for east Jerusalem as Palestine capital

Arab states to push for east Jerusalem as Palestine capital

On Friday, Israeli media reported that the United States has frozen 125 million USA dollars of 346 million it donates annually to the United Nations agency caring for Palestinian refugees after Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas refused to get engaged in US -led peace negotiations with Israel.

Earlier, Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in the weekly cabinet meeting that UNRWA agency should gradually shut down.

"UNRWA is an organization that perpetuates the problem of the Palestinian refugees", he said. "For these reasons, UNRWA should be shut down".

"What perpetuates the refugee crisis is the failure of the parties to deal with the issue".

Another call was allegedly with Mofid Fawzy, who the newspaper said denied that a conversation with Kholi had taken place.

But instead of cutting UNRWA off at once, a move opposed by the IDF and other Israeli security and diplomatic agencies, he urged a more gradual approach.

Several Western diplomats confirmed that $125 million in financial assistance the United States was supposed to send to UNRWA by January 1 had been withheld. "I have expressed this position to the United States".

UNRWA, which is suffering from shortage in budget, is appealing for $400 million in aid to meet humanitarian demands by Palestinian refugees, whose number has reached over 5 million since 1948, particularly in conflict areas such as Gaza and Syria.

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Egypt continues to struggle to contain threats from a variety of regional foes, including the Palestinian militant group Hamas, Iran, and scattered ISIS militants in the Sinai Peninsula, a strip of land that links northeastern Egypt to southern Israel.

But analysts say that the aid helps maintain stability in a volatile region, and an unnamed Israeli security source told Channel 10 Friday that the USA funding cut would make the already dire humanitarian situation in Gaza "much worse".

Israel's Channel 10 television reported Friday that the USA had already frozen a payment to UNRWA, but a spokesman for the United Nations aid agency said Saturday that they "have not been informed directly of a formal decision either way by the U.S. administration".

An Israeli official told the Reuters news agency Saturday that Netanyahu had backed only a "gradual" cut to UNRWA.

The US is now UNRWA's primary source of funding, giving the agency over $300 million per year. All countries have so far located their embassies in Tel Aviv, in order to advance the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. The US is the largest single donor to UNRWA, with over $350 million in annual official aid.

In a Twitter tirade last week, Trump conditioned the continuation of United States aid to UNRWA, one of the primary sources of humanitarian aid for Palestinian refugees, on the Palestinians' "coming to the negotiation table" with Israel. With Israel now unashamedly formalising and expanding its occupation, it will take the efforts of millions of people like Tamimi to beat back this US-Israel nexus.

US President Donald Trump and US ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley speak during a meeting on United Nations Reform at the United Nations headquarters on September 18, 2017, in NY.

As we reported in this column, before President Trump made his statement, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman shocked the Palestinians with his version of a peace plan that lacked the traditional territorial redlines and even more staggering, deleted the demand that east Jerusalem be the capital of the Palestinian state.


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