American officials are reporting that the US is holding back $65m in financial aid for Palestine. This comes in the wake of President Trump complaining that the United States receives “no appreciation or respect” for its actions.
It pledged $125m to the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) to be used for education, health, and social programmes.
However, of that sum, more than half will be held “for future consideration.” Before this, Trump argued that the US would cut aid if Palestinians rejected peace talks with Israel.
The US is the largest single donor to UNRWA.
On Sunday, President of Palestine Mahmoud Abbas censured Trump’s peace plan. He refused to hear any contribution from the US after it recognised Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
Heather Nauert, spokesperson for the state department, said that this was “not aimed at punishing” anyone. She said that it came out of a US desire to see reforms in UNRWA. This was echoed by another US official who said that UNRWA must be re-evaluated in terms of how it is run and how it is funded.
“It is time other countries, some of them quite wealthy, step in and do their part to advance regional security and stability”, he added.
The US donates an additional $260m in bilateral aid used in projects administered by the US Agency of International Development. These projects include humanitarian assistance, economic development, improving water access and other infrastructure, healthcare, education, and vocational training.
In contrast, Israel receives over $3 billion in military aid from the US every year, which they have utilised in order to maintain what international law deems illegal control of occupied territories, as well as daily violence enacted against Palestinians, including Ahed Tamimi, a 16-year-old girl who was arrested by Israeli soldiers back in December, and remains in detention.