(GUARDIAN) — With its colorful band of Muppets preaching tolerance and neighborly love, the Palestinian version of the children’s television program Sesame Street had become a beacon of hope for children in a region ravaged by decades of unrest.

But the cast of peace-loving characters have now found themselves in the crossfire of a political dispute between Palestinian leaders and the US Congress, and episodes have been axed for 2012.

Sesame Street – known as Shara’a Simsim in Arabic – is one of many US-funded Palestinian shows suffering after Congress froze the transfer of nearly £130m to the US Agency for International Development in October. The suspension aimed to punish the Palestinians for appealing to the United Nations for membership.

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