The US government’s decision to slash funds provided to the United Nations agency that cares for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, is part of a new American-Israeli strategy aimed at redefining the rules of the game altogether.
As a result, UNRWA is experiencing its worst financial crisis. The gap in its budget is estimated at around $217 million, and is rapidly increasing. Aside from future catastrophic events that would result in discontinuing services and urgent humanitarian aid to five million refugees registered with UNRWA, the impact of the US callous decision is already reverberating in many refugee camps across the region. Currently, UNRWA has downgraded many of its services: laying off many teachers, reducing staff and working hours at various clinics.
Nearly 40 percent of all Palestinian refugees live in Jordan, a country that is already overwhelmed by a million Syrian refugees who sought shelter there because of the grinding and deadly war in their own country.
Aware of Jordan’s vulnerability, American emissaries attempted to barter with the country to heed the US demand of revoking the status of the two million Palestinian refugees. Instead of funding UNRWA, Washington offered to re-channel the funds directly to the Jordanian government. Thus, the US hopes that the Palestinian refugee status would no longer be applicable. Unsurprisingly, Jordan refused the American offer.
News of this failed barter resurfaced last August. It was reported that US…