It was shocking to hear that the US may cut aid for Palestinians for disagreeing over the unilateral decision by Washington to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. It’s a decision that the entire rest of the world pretty much opposed, and even the closest allies of the US like the UK, Germany and France criticized the move and said it would damage the peace process.
Now the US president is threatening to cut what little money his government, not himself, donates to the Palestinian refugees. The UNRWA already faces regular funding shortages and the paltry $300 million the US gives barely helps.
But behind the scenes, there’s a bigger game being played. For the last 20 years, Israel tried nonstop to convince the United Nations to close the UNRWA program. Israel wants to stop calling Palestinians refugees because it wants to legitimize its land grabs and prevent any resettlement of Palestinians back to their homeland.
Israel’s strategy is to take the whole of Palestine, including the West Bank and Gaza, which was occupied in 1967 by Israel. That is why no matter what government is in power there, they still promote the settlers initiatives. Half the West Bank now is made up of new settlements for Israelis.
Now Israel wants to delegitimize the Palestinian refugee status, and by shutting UNRWA, it will help them claim there are no Palestinian refugees left in the world.
By the way, in total, the US gives around $600 million to the Palestinians; half of which goes to UNRWA and approximately $300 million goes to the Palestinian Authority and NGOS in Palestinian.
By way of comparison, what aid does Israel receive from the US? In 2016, the US inked a deal to give Israel $38 billion – YES BILLIION – dollars in military aid over the next decade. Just imagine. In fact, from 1949 until 2015, the US has given Israel more than $127 billion in aid, according to the Congressional Research Service.
Wow! I leave it up to you guys to contemplate on the massive difference between those two aid packages. And one goes to a military that dominates the entire region and the other to feed refugees.
So have mercy, please.
By Badrya Darwish