U.S cuts 200 million in economic aid to Palestinians, cites ‘high-priority projects elsewhere’

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The U.S has cut over $200 million in economic aid to Palestinians, according to an order by President Donald Trump. Trump had directed the State Department to “redirect” the funding for programmes in the occupied West Bank and the besieged Gaza Strip to unspecified “high-priority projects elsewhere”, a senior US official said.

The official added that the decision took into account “the challenges the international community faces in providing assistance in Gaza, where Hamas control endangers the lives of Gaza’s citizens and degrades an already dire humanitarian and economic situation”.

The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) criticized the US move, calling it “the use of cheap blackmail as a political tool. The Palestinian people and leadership will not be intimidated and will not succumb to coercion.”

“The rights of the Palestinian people are not for sale,” PLO Executive Committee member Hanan Ashrawi said. “There is no glory in constantly bullying and punishing a people under occupation. The US administration has already demonstrated meanness of spirit in its collusion with the Israeli occupation and its theft of land and resources; now it is exercising economic meanness by punishing the Palestinian victims of this occupation.”

Earlier, since March 30, more than 160 Palestinians were killed by Israeli gunfire after protesting against their forcible expulsion in week long demonstrations near the Israel fence. The U.S had planned to provide Palestinians $251m for good governance, health, education and funding for civil society in the current 2018 budget year that ends on September 30.

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