12 nations to step up Palestinian aid
GENEVA — The head of the U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees said Tuesday that Russia, Kuwait and nine European countries have agreed to speed up their contributions to help fill a shortfall left by the U.S.’ decision to greatly reduce crucial U.S. funding.
Commissioner General Pierre Krahenbuhl of the U.N. Relief and Works Agency also said it has received no specifics about changes sought by the United States, suggesting politics — notably surrounding the U.S. decision to recognize Jerusalem as the Israeli capital — were at play.
The agency, which serves some 5 million Palestinian refugees and their descendants, had a budget of more than $1 billion last year. This covered long-running programs, including education, as well as emergency funds for crises such as the war in Syria.
The U.S. has been the largest donor, giving one-third of the total budget. President Donald Trump’s administration withheld half of the first installment of payments this year, demanding changes as a condition for future aid.