After Jerusalem, Trump targets Palestinian refugees!

August 31, 2018
Nikki Haley at FDD
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(Washington, D.C. 8/30/2018)—After slashing more than 50 percent of its funding in January to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, the main organizational body providing welfare and services to over 5 million Palestinian refugees, the Trump administration announced last Friday its intention to cut a further $200 million in relief aid to Palestinians, with additional plans to halt all funding to UNRWA, which many experts believe would have a catastrophic effect on the already dire humanitarian situation in Gaza and the West Bank, and increase instability in the region. 

Following the Jerusalem declaration in December, Trump is now expected to freeze all U.S. funding to UNRWA, to publicly oppose its definition of a refugee which would cap the number at one-tenth of the refugees registered with UNRWA (reducing the number from over 5 million to just half a million), and to oppose the right of return of Palestinian refugees. UNRWA’s definition of a refugee includes the descendants of the original refugees who were expelled from their lands in Palestine in 1948. Israel and the Trump administration oppose this definition and seek to limit it to only the generation that was forced out in 1948. 
 
These callous measures are part of a calculated plan by the Trump administration, led by Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, who serves as his senior adviser, to unilaterally take Palestinian claims “off the table” in negotiations with Israel, particularly the right of return. Once again, the Trump administration’s planned policy change, which contravenes decades of U.S. foreign policy and demonstrates a total disregard for the plight of Palestinians, comes in flagrant violation of international law and UN binding resolution 194
 
Comments made on Tuesday by Trump’s ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, at the hawkish and pro-Likud funded Foundation for the Defense of Democracies further confirmed the administration’s plans to cut off funding to UNRWA, reassess its qualification for refugee status, and state the administration’s position on the right of return. 

Haley also echoed calls by Jared Kushner for Gulf states to help cover UNRWA costs in place of the U.S. These statements were recently leaked to Foreign Policy and quoted internal emails in which Kushner writes that, “It is important to have an honest and sincere effort to disrupt UNRWA.” Yet despite Trump’s empty pledge for a “deal of the century,” Kushner’s plans—from dismantling UNRWA to stripping Palestinians of their refugee status and further squeezing them financially—will in no way ever lead to any peaceful settlement or force Palestinians to “come to the table” when there is nothing there to negotiate. 

“The right of return for Palestinians is an inalienable right that is guaranteed by humanitarian and international law and international resolutions. Neither Israel nor a biased U.S. administration can take away this right from the Palestinian people,” said AMP National Policy Director Osama Abuirshaid. “Instead of taking what is left of Palestinian rights off the table ‘to achieve peace’ the Trump administration should demand that Israel complies with international law,” Abuirshaid added. 

TAKE ACTION

This decision is not yet final! Call the following numbers to voice your objection to this planned policy shift before it’s too late:

1) The White House (202) 456-1111
2) The State Department, Jose-Manuel Dobarco, Near Eastern Affairs desk (202) 632-2040
3) The U.S. Mission to the United Nations (212) 415-4000
4) Your Representatives https://www.house.gov/representatives/find-your-representative
5) Your Two Senators (202) 224-3121

TALKING POINTS

1) Defunding UNRWA and humanitarian aid to Palestinians will only inflame tensions; will lead to greater instability in the region; and will never contribute to any peaceful settlement or resolution. 

2) Over  100 lawmakers and several current and former officials in the  intelligence community, have urged the president to continue providing humanitarian assistance to Palestinians and warned of the dangers of cutting off necessary aid.