A senior Israeli official said his country supports the gradual reduction of US funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA).
US President Donald Trump threatened to stop funding for UNRWA in the future because of the Palestinians’ reluctance to resume peace negotiations with Israel.
The idea, described by the Palestinians as “blackmail”, was initially met with mixed reactions in Israel, and officials warned of the risk of cutting off financial aid to the Palestinians.
“Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu supports a gradual reduction of UNRWA funding,” said an Israeli official, who asked not to be identified.
The site Okcios news said: ” The United States froze $ 125 million of the funding provided by UNRWA,” but an official at the US State Department said that “no decision on this funding.”
Netanyahu’s office said in a brief statement: “The prime minister supports the strict approach adopted by President Trump and believes in the need to take practical steps to change the situation in which UNRWA gives the problem of Palestinian refugees instead of resolving them.”
UNRWA provides support to most of the population of the Gaza Strip , and reducing its budget may raise tensions with Israel, which is one of the main channels for delivering aid to the Gaza Strip.
According to the UNRWA website, the United States is the largest donor to the agency and has been providing about $ 370 million by 2016.