The Trump administration on Friday canceled scheduled payments of hundreds of millions of dollars to an “irredeemably flawed” United Nations agency that was making payments to convicted terrorists and their families in the Middle East.
According to Israel National News, the U.S. State Department said it no longer is funding UNRWA, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East.
The American Center for Law and Justice explained that Trump had promised to cut funding “to the terrorist affiliated Palestinian Authority as long as they continued to reward the families of terrorists.”
“Now the president’s administration has gone a step further, cutting off even more funding by withholding a significant sum of money – roughly $200 million – that had been previously earmarked to go to the PA,” the organization said.
The group, referring to the PA’s “pay for slay” program, noted Congress adopted the Taylor Force Act, named after an American killed in Middle East terror, which prevents the U.S. from funding the payments.
“As we’ve previously pointed out, the PA has been paying out an estimated $300 million each year to incentivize and reward terrorists. At the same time, the U.S. has been providing at least $400 million in taxpayer dollars annually to the PA. Not only are these barbaric attacks, but the fact that American tax dollars have subsidized them is simply unconscionable,” the group said,
“Withholding upwards of $200 million the PA was already counting on should help to slow their martyr recruitment efforts. Hundreds of millions of free U.S. tax dollars already sent to the PA have been used to recruit and rewarded new jihadists for murdering Americans and Israelis,” ACLJ said.
The Middle East Forum said the U.S. taxpayer contributed $364 million in 2017, about one-third of the total UNRWA budget, almost triple the European Union contribution and by far the most from any single UNRWA donor.
“At the State Department’s request, the Forum on Aug. 8 provided it with a detailed plan to dismantle UNRWA – a refugee agency that perversely sees its mandate as creating ever-more refugees. Today’s announcement takes a first step toward that end,” the forum said.
State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said: “When we made a U.S. contribution of $60 million in January, we made it clear that the United States was no longer willing to shoulder the very disproportionate share of the burden of UNRWA’s costs that we had assumed for many years. Several countries, including Jordan, Egypt, Sweden, Qatar, and the UAE have shown leadership in addressing this problem, but the overall international response has not been sufficient.
“Beyond the budget gap itself and failure to mobilize adequate and appropriate burden sharing, the fundamental business model and fiscal practices that have marked UNRWA for years – tied to UNRWA’s endlessly and exponentially expanding community of entitled beneficiaries – is simply unsustainable and has been in crisis mode for many years. The United States will no longer commit further funding to this irredeemably flawed operation.”
CNN reported critics charged the move limits the options for the 5.3 million Palestinian refugees registered with UNRWA.
Only about 700,000 Palestinians were estimated to have fled their homes when Israel was established some 70 years ago.
WND reported a year ago the Trump administration criticized the U.N.’s handling of issues such as refugees, abortion and climate change.
Two years ago, the U.N.’s Security Council issued a stunning resolution condemning U.S. ally Israel for building housing in disputed territory it won in the 1967 war initiated by its Arab neighbors.
Though it was just latest of many U.N. attacks on Israel, the overreach prompted calls to withdraw U.S. funding of the global body and even to drop membership and order it to vacate its properties on U.S. soil.
The U.N. also has adopted policies to override national law and advocate for abortion, routinely puts rogue nations on its human-rights panel, and threatens Americans’ constitutional rights through its Arms Trade Treaty and even parental rights through its Convention on the Rights of the Child.
“We further urge [President] Donald J. Trump and the Republican Congress to declare all United Nations resolutions, treaties and other explicit and implicit commitments to be no longer binding on the United States and violations of American sovereignty. … We urge President-elect Donald J. Trump and the Republican Congress to use all available means to encourage allies of the United States and Israel to withdraw from the United Nations and withhold all funding and official recognition from that organization,” it states.