US Freezes $125 Million Funds to UNRWA

US vice president confirms visit to Israel amid Jerusalem tensions

The aid cuts came days after USA president Donald Trump threatened to do so to the Palestinians if they refuse to return to the negotiations table with Israel.

News site Axios reported on Friday (Jan. 5) that the United States had frozen $125 million in funding for a UN agency that provides aid to Palestinian refugees, but a US State Department official said no decision had been made on the payment, and deliberations were ongoing.

Trump tweeted on January 2 that the US pays the Palestinians "HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS a year" and gets "no appreciation or respect" in return.

The Jordanian leader said the issue of Jerusalem should be settled through negotiations and as part of a lasting peace between the Palestinians and the Israelis based on the two-state solution, the global resolutions and the Arab Peace Initiative. "It appreciates the immediate symbolism of the USA taking Israel's side versus the Palestinians".

The United States has adopted a new policy based on imposing financial sanctions and embargoes in addition to threats of use of force, which is extremely a new style that has never been used by previous US administrations, Awad said.

The Palestinian side, on the other hand, should also follow new policies, Awad said.

US vice president confirms visit to Israel amid Jerusalem tensions
US Freezes $125 Million Funds to UNRWA

The foreign ministers of six Arab states - Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Palestine and Morocco - are set to meet in Amman on Saturday to discuss the situation in Jerusalem.

"The Australian government will continue our diplomatic representation to Israel from our embassy in Tel Aviv and our representation to the Palestinian Authority from our office in Ramallah", she said in a statement.

Jerusalem remains at the heart of the Middle East conflict, with Palestinians hoping that East Jerusalem - occupied by Israel since 1967 - might eventually serve as the capital of an independent Palestinian state.

The Palestinians insist that they should establish an independent state with East Jerusalem as its capital in the final settlement.

The status of Jerusalem - home to major Muslim, Jewish and Christian holy sites - has been one of the biggest obstacles to any peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians for generations.

Trump said on Tuesday he would withhold money from the Palestinians, accusing them of being "no longer willing to talk peace" with Israel.

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