The US decision to cut all funding for the United Nations’ Palestine refugee agency came shortly after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu directly requested such a step, according to reports.
Barak Ravid of Israel’s Channel 10 News told the Axios site that “around two weeks ago”, Netanyahu “privately conveyed a message to the White House stressing that Israel’s position regarding the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) has changed — and that it now supports a complete cut of all US funding”.
Netanyahu asked the White House to immediately cut US aid to UNRWA https://t.co/wQaAEH90Z8
— The New Arab (@The_NewArab) September 3, 2018
Citing conversations with Israeli officials, Ravid added that Netanyahu apparently “communicated with the Trump administration without consulting Israel’s security chiefs”.
The report continued:
“Until several weeks ago, the Israeli policy was that any cut in American funding of UNRWA should be gradual and without any aid cuts to Gaza, thanks to the fear of a humanitarian collapse and an escalation on the ground”.
4/ When Netanyahu decided a few weeks ago to change the Israeli position to support the full and immediate cuts of all American aid to UNRWA, Netanyahu himself informed the White House + Israel's Amb to US Ron Dermer informed the senior members of the Senate Finance Committee https://t.co/nNTcN4fLTS
— Marian Houk (@Marianhouk) September 2, 2018
Netanyahu’s decision to change Israel’s position “several weeks ago” was “conveyed…privately to the White House and to members of the Senate Appropriations Committee via his close confidant, [Israeli ambassador] Ron Dermer”, without “any discussion in the Israeli security cabinet”.
Ravid added that:
“The officials said many senior defense and intelligence officials in Israel were caught by surprise by the policy shift and did not see it coming”.
— Palestine Chronicle (@PalestineChron) September 2, 2018
The US announced on Friday that it would no longer be supporting UNRWA with $360 million in donations each year. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said the organization’s business model and fiscal practices were an “irredeemably flawed operation” and that the agency’s “endlessly and exponentially expanding community of entitled beneficiaries is simply unsustainable.”
(MEMO, PC, Social Media)