Reports have emerged from the United States that Donald Trump’s son-in-law is trying to cut American aid to the Palestinians still further, ahead of an expected peace plan he is due to unveil.
Jared Kushner, who advises the president on the Middle East, is reported to have gained agreement from US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to withhold up to $200 million in relief aid to Gaza and the West Bank.
News of Kushner’s funding crush was reported through Foreign Policy late last week, which cited three diplomatic sources close to the White House administration.
The US Congress had already appropriated $230 million for private relief groups in Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem, but Kushner and Pompeo are understood to be asking politicians to withhold most of the money.
If the US withholds the money it will affect dozens of humanitarian programmes run by non-governmental organisations and charities, and would shred the services offered through the US Agency for International Development.
Earlier this year Trump cut US funding for the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) by more than half, resulting in hundreds of staff members being laid off. UNRWA provides essential food and services to five million Palestinian refugees across the Middle East.
A National Security Council spokesman said: “No decision has been made.”