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US to withhold over half $125m aid for Palestinians, says official

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By Emma Beswick
US to withhold over half $125m aid for Palestinians, says official

The United States will withhold over half of the $125m (€101m) it gives to a UN agency in aid for Palestinians, a US official said on Tuesday.

It will hand over $60 million (€49m) to the UN Relief and Works Agency, but $65 million (€53m) will be kept back "for future consideration". 

The official, who spoke under the condition of anonymity did not relate the decision to a January 2 threat made by President Donald Trump on Twitter in which he said that Washington gives the Palestinians "HUNDRED OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS a year and get no appreciation or respect".

"It is time other countries, some of them quite wealthy, step in and do their part to advance regional security and stability," the official said.

The US funds almost 30 per cent of the UN Relief and Works Agency's overall work in 2016.

That's double the amount given by the second largest donor—the EU.

In a subsequent tweet, Trump said he didn't see why the US should "make any of these massive future payments" to the Palestinians, as they were "no longer willing to talk peace".

On Sunday, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said he would not accept a US peace plan after Trump recognised Jerusalem as Israel's capital last year.