Belgium pledges $23 million to UN Palestinian agency after US aid cut

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"T$3 aking away food and education from vulnerable refugees does not bring a lasting and comprehensive peace", Zomlot added, noting Trump's decision lined up with statements made two weeks ago from Israel's Prime Minister who called to shut down UNRWA. She said the U.S.is instead asking other governments to "step up to the plate" and increase funding for the agency. The agency provides health care, education and social services to 5 million Palestinians across the Middle East.

In a Twitter post on January 2, Trump said that Washington gives the Palestinians "HUNDRED OFMILLIONS OF DOLLARS a year and get no appreciation or respect".

But she declined to say whether the United States has given UNRWA a list of specific changes or reforms it needs to undertake to unlock the rest of the USA funding.

But State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert confirmed on Tuesday that the u.s. government had written to UNRWA to inform it that it was withholding $65m out of a total of $120m in funding pledged as a "first tranche" in 2018.

". With the Palestinians no longer willing to talk peace, why should we make any of these massive future payments to them?"

The U.S. has historically been the UNRWA's largest single donor, supplying almost 30 percent of its budget.

In a Twitter post on 2 January, Trump accused Palestinians of disrespecting the United States despite receiving millions of dollars in aid from Washington.

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"This is not aimed at punishing anyone", spokeswoman Heather Nauert told reporters.

"Funding UNRWA or any humanitarian agency is the discretion of any sovereign member state of the United Nations", he said, in a statement. We also hope that this decision is not part of an American political framework to impose positions on the Palestinians, which will never work.

"UNRWA has proven time and again to be an agency that misuses the humanitarian aid of the worldwide community and instead supports anti-Israel propaganda, perpetuates the plight of Palestinian refugees and encourages hate", he said.

UNRWA commissioner-general Pierre Krähenbühl said in a statement that the reduced USA contribution "threatens one of the most successful and innovative human development endeavors in the Middle East".

- We hope that this USA decision is not the beginning of complicit actions with the radical Israeli attempts to undermine the existence and hinder the work of UNRWA with its incessant attempts to camouflage the iniquity rather than find just solutions.

He said the $60 million would keep schools and hospitals open for now, but noted that it was dramatically lower than the $350 million Washington paid over the course of 2017. Administration officials say other countries should contribute more.

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