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Inside the Trump Administration’s War on UNRWA and Palestinian Refugees

Photo Credit: Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Dominique A. Pineiro) / Flickr

The Trump administration’s decision to drastically condense American contributions to the United Nations Relief Works Agency (UNRWA) has sent shockwaves by the classification and left millions of Palestinian refugees wondering if the simple mixture for their presence will shortly disappear. “This is the misfortune financial predicament in UNRWA’s history,” Chris Gunness told the Electronic Intifada’s Ali Abunimah.

UNRWA was determined in 1950 to caring for the 750,000 Palestinians who were driven from their homes and land by the Israeli military two years before. Today, the organisation provides free education, medical and simple foodstuffs to the 5 million Palestinians widespread opposite the Middle East who hereditary interloper status. In the Gaza Strip, UNRWA is the second largest employer and thankful for providing services to over 70 percent of the population. Indeed, the organisation is a salvation for many residents of the besieged coastal enclave, and its tumble would likely trigger a multitude far-reaching catastrophe.

With its bid to defund UNRWA, the Trump administration has broken with decades of American policy. The administration had primarily dictated to cut off appropriation to UNRWA altogether, but an involvement by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson cumulative an American oath of $60 million for the year — only half of what the US had been thankful to donate.


A diplomat with believe of the Trump administration’s discussions about appropriation UNRWA told me that Tillerson finessed the appropriation to denote his management over colleagues he saw as intruding on his turf. The diplomat described presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner and UN Ambassador Nikki Haley as Tillerson’s rivals, and as the pivotal forces behind the attack on UNRWA.

Kushner is a pro-Israel ideologue whose family has donated heavily to illegal Israeli settlements and nurtured a prolonged friendshipwith Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Tasked by the boss with achieving the “ultimate deal” between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, Kushner has put brazen a one-sided plan that promises to banish a Palestinian state to a few cantons in the West Bank and a little area on the corner of East Jerusalem, consolidating Israel’s allotment craving while leaving millions of Palestinians legally released from their own inhabitant project.

By starving UNRWA, Kushner hopes to force Palestinians to relinquish their interloper standing and eliminate the right of return postulated to them by UN Resolution 194. He would thereby mislay one of the few cards the Palestinians have left to play at the negotiating table. Since he is incompetent to break the organisation in a singular blow, his strategy is directed at disruption.

Haley has assimilated forces with Kushner to destroy UNRWA, but for other reasons. According to the diplomat, Haley has been seething given the whole UN General Assembly voted this Dec to reject Trump’s oath to commend Jerusalem as the collateral of Israel. “We will be holding names,” Haley warned ahead of the vote, vowing to retaliate the UN for defying Trump.

Besides settling her fight against probably the whole world, Haley is exploiting her height at the UN to curry preference with the pro-Israel oligarchs who could propel her presidential ambitions. Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire Netanyahu playmate who donated $5 million to Trump’s inauguration, has been the second largest donor to Haley’s 527 domestic organization, with a $250,000 concession in 2016. (Last year, Adelson dumped $10 million of his personal happening into the Israeli-American Council, instantly transforming the organisation into a pro-Likud aspirant to AIPAC, the categorical arm of the Israel run in Washington.)

Haley’s many successful confidant at the UN is not any unfamiliar policy expert, but a maestro Republican consultant from South Carolina named Jon Lerner. A former confidant to the neoconservative heavenly Sen. Marco Rubio, Lerner has identified his coach as Arthur Finkelstein, the notoriously cruel Republican user who suggested Netanyahu’s 1996 run for primary apportion and helped broker the partnership between Netanyahu’s Likud Party and Avigdor Lieberman’s far-right Yisrael Beiteinu in 2013.

Haley’s pro-Israel messaging appears to simulate Lerner’s devise to position her as a presidential contender.

Trump National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster and Defense Secretary James Mattis have been credited in some reports with assisting Tillerson secure the concede on UNRWA funding, but according to the diplomat, they were peaceful to fight for the funding.

For his part, Trump has proven rudderless, changeable positions from moment to moment depending on which confidant has his ear. The tactful source pronounced the boss took Tillerson’s side during a lunch in early January, then unexpected pivoted to back Haley after she lobbied him a few days later. Congressional Democrats, meanwhile, have finished next to zero to pull back against the attack on UNRWA.

The defunding of UNRWA would immediately outcome in the shuttering of 700 schools that yield 525,000 immature people with first-rate, secular-oriented educations that stress gender equivalence and human rights. Basic food reserve would dry up for millions in some of the lowest regions of the Middle East. And as new story has shown, interloper camps can be simply instrumentalized by radical elements from abroad.

The case of Naher al-Bared, when jihadists infiltrated a Palestinian interloper stay in Lebanon in 2007 and triggered a brutal advance by the Lebanese Army that resulted in the camp’s finish destruction, should offer as a frightening doctrine in how fast things can tumble apart. But within the Trump administration, personal ambitions and pro-Israel beliefs have impressed any regard about serve destabilizing a segment that is already teetering on the brink.


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