Aid to Palestine

September 05,2018

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The decision by the US to cut humanitarian aid to the UN agency that supports Palestine has brought the condemnations it deserves. There is little chance that the Trump administration, with thrives on controversy, will restore the aid during its term. This will amplify the humanitarian crisis in Palestine, which has borne even greater strife than this. What this clarifies is that the US is no longer committed to a peaceful and equitable solution of the Palestinian question. This has already been known – but moments such as these confirm that even the pretensions of goodwill for the Palestinian people no longer hold. This is a moment that should serve as an opportunity for Palestine to try new forms of diplomacy to solve the conflict. It has already been doing well to gain solidarity and trust in the international community recently. It has been elected to represent the developing countries of the world in the UN. This can be consolidated as a group that criticises the inability of the UN Security Council to take Israel to task for its crimes against the Palestinian people.

Only recently the UN secretary-general called for new paths to resolve the Israel-Palestine conflict, including the deployment of a peace force. The US aid cut both undermines the Palestinian cause and the UN. Israel has no doubt supported the move which has obviously been criticised by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas as a ‘flagrant assault’. Five million Palestinian refugees now need money and resources. The UNRWA dispenses over 500,000 meals to refugee schoolchildren every day as well as assists 1.7 million people every day. The rest of the world must do more than issuing condemnations and try and find a way to replace the money that was received from the US. This would be a powerful symbol of defiance that would allow more autonomy to Palestine to set its political agenda. Pakistan could take a lead on the matter and announce a fund in consultation with other countries that have condemned the US aid cuts. If the US is acting to isolate itself in the context of international diplomacy, it may be better to just let that happen. Support for Palestinian refugees must be delivered in real terms. It is important to let the Trump administration know that it cannot blackmail oppressed peoples as a way of conducting international diplomacy.


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