US Delays Payment to UN for Palestinians
The Trump administration has not yet transferred a planned $125 million payment to the United Nations (U.N.) agency charged with assisting Palestinian refugees amid frustrations over a lack of progress on a peace deal between the Palestinians and Israelis.
Axios reported Friday that the Trump administration had frozen the funding to the U.N. Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), and was conducting a broader review of U.S. assistance to the Palestinian Authority. That money, according to Axios, was supposed to be transferred on Jan. 1.
A State Department official denied that the department had missed a deadline, telling The Hill that funding decisions were still underway.
"Contrary to reports that we have halted funding to UNRWA, the decision is under review. There are still deliberations taking place, and we have missed no deadline," the official said.
A State Department official had told Axios that the funds were not necessarily frozen, and that the administration has until Jan. 15 to decide its next steps.
There is no formal deadline for transferring the funds, though donors usually do so early in the year.
Chris Gunness, a spokesman for UNRWA, said in a statement that no decision had yet been made on the funding.
“Based on extensive conversations with interlocutors in the U.S. Administration, our understanding is that no decision has been made on the question of American funding to UNRWA,” he said.
The $125 million in question amounts to about a third of Washington's annual donations to the agency.
According to Axios, Trump is considering cutting that portion of the funding altogether, and is weighing slashing as much as $180 million in U.S. funding to UNRWA.