Palestinian leader: US canceling funding for Palestinian refugees 'strengthens terrorism’

Palestinian leader: US canceling funding for Palestinian refugees 'strengthens terrorism’
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A spokesman for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas slammed the Trump administration's plan to end funding for a United Nations (U.N.) refugee program that aids Palestinian refugees, calling the move an "attack" on the rights of Palestinians.

Nabil Abu Rudeineh said Saturday that the move by the White House to cancel funding for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency's (UNRWA) Palestinian refugee program was a violation of trust between the Trump administration and Palestinian authorities, The Associated Press reports.

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The decision “does not serve peace but rather strengthens terrorism in the region," Abu Rudeineh said, according to the AP.

“This decision, which violates all resolutions of international legitimacy, requires the United Nations to take a firm stand against the U.S. decision and to take appropriate decisions,” he continued.

“Whatever the size of the conspiracies aimed at liquidating the Palestinian cause, this will only increase the steadfastness of the Palestinian people and its leadership.”

UNRWA was established following the war in Israel in 1948 and has since grown as an agency dedicated to helping Palestinian refugees and their descendants around the world who were displaced by the violence. Some 5 million refugees are now recognized by the agency.

A spokesman for the organization in the Gaza Strip said that the organization currently provides food aid to around 1 million Palestinians in the region.

“Stopping or cutting aid to UNRWA could really affect UNRWA’s operations,” Adnan Abu Hasna told the AP. “We don’t think cutting this aid will help stability or pushing the peace process, especially as UNRWA plays a big role in the stability of the region.”

The State Department officially announced on Friday that the administration would cut funding for the program, with U.N. Ambassador Nikki HaleyNimrata (Nikki) HaleyGraham knocks South Korea over summit with North Publisher says Woodward book sales largest in its history Bianca Jagger visits DC to spotlight 'brutal assault' on 'people of Nicaragua' MORE attacking Palestinians' continued criticism of U.S. policy and other Arab countries for not doing more to assist refugees.

"[T]here’s an endless number of refugees that continue to get assistance, but more importantly, the Palestinians continue to bash America,” Haley said earlier this week, according to The Washington Post.

“Where is Saudi Arabia? Where is the United Arab Emirates? Where is Kuwait?” she added. “Do they not care enough about Palestinians to go and give money to make sure these kids are taken care of?”