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Rasa News Agency - Weaponizing Humanitarian Aid: Trump Cuts US Funds to Palestinians
Saturday, September 22, 2018
Service : > Commentary
Time : Tuesday, September 11, 2018
News ID: 439496
 
Weaponizing Humanitarian Aid: Trump Cuts US Funds to Palestinians
Rasa - In yet another move to appease Israel and weaponize humanitarian aid, the United States cut more than $200 million in aid to the Palestinians, amid a deteriorating relationship with the Palestinian leadership.

RNA - The decision came after the Palestinian leadership angered the White House by boycotting its so-called peace efforts and after President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem Al-Quds as Israel’s capital and moved the embassy there, reversing decades of US policy. The move was condemned by the international community, including the United Nations.

 

However, Trump’s decision to weaponize humanitarian and developmental aid as political blackmail won’t work. It won’t force the Palestinians to the negotiating table. The illegal cuts might exacerbate hardship in Gaza, an enclave that has been under Israeli and Egypt blockades for more than ten years now. But that’s all really. The blockade violates standard international law on the status of refugees, has no international support, and as always, will go nowhere.

 

On the other hand, Trump’s decision to end funding to the UNRWA that administers to Palestinian refugees will damage everyone in the region, including Israel and the United States. Contrary to what Trump might assume, US funding to UNRWA is not a favor to the Palestinian people or to the Palestinian government. It is, in fact, a favor to Israel.

 

As any occupying power, Israel is obliged, under International Humanitarian Law, to ensure the welfare and well-being of the occupied population, including maintaining public order and public health and providing food and medical care. These are among the forms of assistance that UNRWA delivers to the Palestinians living under Israeli occupation and as refugees in neighboring countries, which has derailed attention from Israeli defiance of its international undertakings in this very same sphere.

 

When UNRWA fulfills its UN mandate, it is fulfilling its own responsibilities and not those of Israel. Hence, the usurper regime of Israel retains ultimate responsibility for meeting these required obligations. but, if the UN agency is ever unable to continue to provide these services, then more attention will be paid to Israel's defiance and lack of respect for international law, meaning that there will then be more international pressure on Tel Aviv to comply with its duty.

 

Therefore, when the US generously grants $300 million in annual contributions to help UNRWA heal, educate and shelter Palestinians in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, it is, in fact, adding a stipend of $300 million to its far more generous $5 billion annual contribution to Israel.

 

According to Fars News Agancy, it is ironic that with the same $300 million in grants, Israel can buy F-15s or Apache helicopters — US-made weapons — which it uses to make another kind of delivery, bombs and missiles, to Gaza and Palestine and occasionally to neighboring countries.

 

Despite the asymmetry of his government’s generosity, therefore, Trump demands gratitude from UNRWA’s beneficiaries — the besieged people of Gaza and the millions of refugees in Jordan, Lebanon and Syria but not from Israel.

 

As for that illusive peace table that Trump keeps referring to, he should be reminded that Washington has found a faster and easier path to “peace” that dispenses with tables as well as with fairness to, and equality between, the parties. Instead, the Trump administration has chosen unilateral decrees on the final-status issues — not only deciding for the parties but also doing so consistently in favor of one party – in this case Israel.

 

In brief, Trump shouldn’t bother inviting the Palestinians to a table when everything has seemingly been determined: Jerusalem Al-Quds is the rogue capital of Israel; the Palestinian refugees are no longer refugees and therefore no longer have a right of return; the illegal settlements in the West Bank will define the borders of Israel; and Israel is a uniquely Jewish state, although a third of its citizens are Muslim and Christian.

 

By cutting aid to Palestine, Trump made it absolutely clear one more time that the pro-Israel US policy is in no way designed to help those who want peace and security in the Holy Land. This colonialist policy also is in no way intended to help American standing in the region or in the world at large. It only helps Israel to shrug off its responsibility as an occupier and usurper. This makes the Trump White House complicit in Israeli crimes and atrocities in occupied Palestine.

 

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