update desk

US State Department denies report of UNWRA aid freeze

The U.S. State Department has denied a report that $125 million in American funding to UNRWA has been frozen.

Boys at an UNRWA school in the Gaza Strip, September 2011. Credit: Shareef Sarhan/U.N. Photo.
Boys at an UNRWA school in the Gaza Strip, September 2011. Credit: Shareef Sarhan/U.N. Photo.

The U.S. State Department has denied a report that $125 million in American funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) has been frozen.

The Axios news website reported last Friday that the U.S. payment to UNWRA—representing one-third of America’s annual contribution to the U.N. refugee agency that is solely dedicated to the Palestinians—was due to arrive on Jan.1, but was halted. Earlier last week, President Donald Trump threatened to cut off aid to the Palestinians for their refusal to negotiate with Israel.

An unnamed State Department official told Reuters that the Axios report “is very misleading. Just because they were expecting the money on the 1st, and they did not get it at that time, does not mean it was suspended or canceled.”

UNRWA spokesperson Chris Gunness said the agency had not been notified of a formal U.S. decision on funding.

Last week, as part of a series of tweets on U.S. foreign aid, Trump wrote that “with the Palestinians no longer willing to talk peace, why should we make any of these massive future payments to them?”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office stated that the Israeli leader “supports President Trump’s critical approach and believes that practical steps should be taken to change the situation in which UNRWA perpetuates the Palestinian refugee problem instead of resolving it.”

The U.S. is the largest foreign funder of the PA and UNRWA.

You have read 3 articles this month.
Register to receive full access to JNS.

Just before you scroll on...

Israel is at war.

JNS is combating the stream of misinformation on Israel with real, honest and factual reporting. In order to deliver this in-depth, unbiased coverage of Israel and the Jewish world, we rely on readers like you.

The support you provide allows our journalists to deliver the truth, free from bias and hidden agendas. Can we count on your support?

Every contribution, big or small, helps JNS.org remain a trusted source of news you can rely on.

Become a part of our mission by donating today
Topics
Comments
Thank you. You are a loyal JNS Reader.
You have read more than 10 articles this month.
Please register for full access to continue reading and post comments.
Never miss a thing
Get the best stories faster with JNS breaking news updates