Belgium Pledges $23M Over 3 Years to Save UNWRA From US Cuts

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at an Israeli Indian Economic Conference in New Delhi India

The administration also made clear that future donations from the USA would be contingent on major reforms that will be implemented by the UNRWA. "We're not going to reward bad behavior".

Belgium, together with other European Union member states, is now UNRWA's largest donor. We would like other countries - in fact, other countries that criticise the United States for what they believe to be our position vis-a-vis the Palestinians, other countries that have criticised us - to step forward and actually help with UNRWA, to do more.

Nauert said other countries should shoulder more of the costs for UNRWA.

In mid-December, the State Department assured the United Nations it would contribute $45 million to purchase emergency food rations and other critical supplies for 1 million needy Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Last week UNRWA warned that USA cuts will hurt half a million children; the United Nations agency runs 700 schools, where 525,000 boys and girls study, and operates 143 health clinics.

"The reduced contribution also impacts regional security at a time when the Middle East faces multiple risks and threats, notably that of further radicalisation", he said.

In contrast to Trump and Haley, who directly linked aid cuts to political talks, State Department officials have insisted that the decision to reduce funding is about pushing UNRWA to enact management and financial reforms. They don't even want to negotiate a long overdue.

"The American administration reaffirms its complicity with the Israeli occupation and preempts the issues of a permanent solution by removing the refugee issue from the table and targeting innocent people, specifically this vulnerable segment of the Palestinian people", she added.

But voluntary payments from the United States are the biggest single source of support for the 68-year-old body, and other USA officials opposed an immediate and total suspension. Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians either fled or were forced from their homes during the war that led to Israel's establishment in 1948.

The decision drew condemnation from Palestinians, praise from Israel, and expressions of deep concern from United Nations officials and refugee groups anxious about the humanitarian impact and particularly the potential for further destabilization of a region already reeling from conflict in Syria. "At stake is the access of refugees to primary healthcare, including prenatal care and other lifesaving services". "All humanitarian aid should be provided on the basis of need", said ADC.

US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley has commented for the first time on the sharp two-hour long speech delivered by Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas earlier this week.

That came after the Palestinian Authority said President Trump's plan to move the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem disqualifies America as an unbiased mediator for Mideast peace.

He said the $60 million would keep schools and hospitals open for now, but noted that it was dramatically lower than the $350 million Washington paid over the course of 2017.

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