The United States on Tuesday said it would withhold about half the initial aid it planned to give a U.N. agency that serves the Palestinians, two weeks after President Donald Trump questioned the value of such funding.

In announcing that it would provide $60 million to the U.N. Relief and Welfare Agency (UNRWA) while withholding a further $65 million for now, the U.S. State Department said the aid group needed to make unspecified reforms.

Palestine Liberation Organization official Wasel Abu Youssef immediately criticized the move, casting it as a deliberate U.S. effort to deny the Palestinians their rights and linking it to Trump’s widely criticized Dec. 6 decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he was unaware of any cut in aid but he was “very concerned” about the possibility because it “is an important factor of stability.”

UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krähenbühl said in a statement that the reduced U.S. contribution “threatens one of the most successful and innovative human development endeavors in the Middle East.”

U.S. withholds $65 million in Palestinian aid after Trump threat

The United States on Tuesday said it would withhold about half the initial aid it planned to give a U.N. agency that serves the Palestinians, two weeks after President Donald Trump questioned the value of such funding.


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