The United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees has launched a fundraising campaign to fill in the gap caused after U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration announced a cut of tens of millions of dollars in funding out of the blue. The agency will most likely hold a ministerial-level donors conference as a part of the campaign next month.
On January 16, the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA) was notified that the United States had decided to withhold $65 million out of the intended $125 million installment and was also demanding a “fundamental re-examination” of the agency along with changes to its programmes, which have been heavily criticised by Israel.
The U.S. is the relief agency’s largest donor and gave $350 million last year. The agency’s total budget amounted to over $1 billion which it utilized to serve around five million Palestinian refugees and their descendants.
Scott Anderson, the agency’s West Bank operations director who just visited Washington, said the U.S. has not yet spelled out what reforms it wants to see implemented in order to restore the $65 million it is withholding now and possibly millions more it may hold back in the future.
On January 25, in Davos, Switzerland, Donald Trump told the World Economic Forum that the Palestinians must return to peace talks to receive aid from the U.S.