The decision by the US Administration to end its contribution to UNRWA is reckless and completely ignorant of the situation on the ground. UNRWA provides essential services to Palestinian refugees across the West Bank, Gaza, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria. To callously turn away from the needs of vulnerable refugees in a region that is dealing with humanitarian crises is heartless and shameful. The UK Government must urgently work with international partners to fill the funding gap and ensure that front-line services are not adversely impacted by the US trying to pull the plug.
More broadly, such a move takes us further away from peace and risks unsettling the broader region. From their unilateral and imbalanced actions, it is clear that the US Administration is not an honest broker for peace talks between Israel and Palestine. It is now therefore incumbent on the UK Government to commit to a renewed multilateral effort towards a just peace for the region based on international law and respect for the rights of all Israelis and Palestinians – including Palestinian refugees. Continuing to wait and see what the Trump Administration decides to do is having too devastating an impact on the ground and Palestinians are fast running out of time to wait.