UN aid chief begs for donations after Trump admin cuts funds

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After the Trump administration announced on Tuesday the withholding of $65 million in aid for Palestinian refugees, the head of the agency appealed on Wednesday for donations from other countries of the world.

The U.N. Relief and Works Agency was notified in a letter from the State Department that the U.S. is withholding $65 million of a planned $125 million funding contribution. The letter declared that additional aid from the U.S. will be contingent upon major “fundamental” reform by UNRWA, which has been soundly criticized by Israel.

UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krähenbühl claimed Wednesday that the withholding of U.S. funds risks instability in the region, and pledged to launch “a global fundraising campaign” aimed at keeping the agency’s schools and clinics for refugees open through 2018 and beyond, the New York Post reported.

“At stake is the dignity and human security of millions of Palestine refugees, in need of emergency food assistance and other support in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, and the West Bank and Gaza Strip,” he said in a statement posted on Twitter.

“The reduced contribution also impacts regional security at a time when the Middle East faces multiple risks and threats, notably that of further radicalization,” Krähenbühl said.

UNRWA was established by the U.N. General Assembly in 1949 after hundreds of thousands of Palestinians fled or were forced to leave their homes in the 1948 war that followed the creation of Israel. According to the agency, it aids five million registered Palestinian refugees in the Middle East.

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