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The US administration has decided to cut aid to Palestinians. This includes $200m to charities that provide medical care and other humanitarian services.
This follows their earlier decision to stop funding UNRWA, the international body responsible for supporting Palestinian refugees. The US had been providing $350m to UNRWA each year, more than one quarter of the organisation’s budget.
These reckless decisions made by ill-informed politicians have dire real life consequences.
Trócaire’s sister agency in the US, Catholic Relief Services (CRS), has reported that the decision has seen the number of people it supports with food in Gaza fall from 150,000 to just 200.
The inhumane fate of the Palestinians is largely due to the inaction of the international community. International aid is a life-line to Palestinians who live in prison-like conditions under permanent military occupation by Israel.
While cutting the combined $550m annual funding to Palestinians, the US will continue to give Israel $3.8bn each year.
The decision will worsen the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. It is estimated that $1bn is needed to begin alleviating Gaza’s humanitarian crisis. This includes upgrading its gas supply, water desalination and electricity infrastructure. Only 4% of water in Gaza is safe to drink.
Almost one in every two people in Gaza are unemployed. Eighty per cent of the population rely on international aid for survival.
This latest move is further evidence of the disregard the US administration has for the lives of vulnerable people.
Ireland needs to stand up to the US administration on this issue. The EU countries must ensure that the US does not cut off the Palestinian people’s life-line.
Caoimhe de Barra14 May 2021
Trócaire12 April 2021
Leigh Brady08 April 2021