Brief #49—Foreign Policy

Policy Summary
On August 24th, the Trump administration announced that over $200 million in aid intended for Palestinian refugees would be cut from the U.N. Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA). Rather than directing funds through the Palestinian Authority, the UNRWA provides food subsidies, medical services, and youth programs directly to poor Palestinians. While Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reportedly opposed the cuts, Jared Kushner pushed for them as a way of “strengthening his negotiating hand when he introduces his long-awaited Middle East peace plan”. Trump agreed that the cuts were a way of forcing Palestinian leadership to come to the table and tweeted that Palestinians show “no appreciation or respect”. A State Department Spokesperson explained that while the US is “the most generous country in the world”, this aid spending “does not benefit the taxpayer”.

The US is not the most generous country in the world. The majority of our taxpayer funded foreign aid goes towards controlling the destruction caused by our imperialistic foreign policy, and even then it is often, as in this scenario, then used as a leveraging tool for controlling opposition to US hegemony. Palestinians are crowded into a steadily vanishing territory within West Bank and the small open air prison that is the Gaza Strip. Surrounded by a US supported embargo, where even fishing too far off the coast triggers a military response, Palestinians have been forced to depend on the aid such as that previously provided by UNRWA. Starving them even thinner, as Trump and Kushner hope to do, will not lead to an amicable conclusion to the Israel-Palestinian crisis. It leaves Palestinians with few good options.  They can sell what little rights they still hold for a secure if impoverished future – one where the dream of self determination and sovereignty is compromised for an end to Israeli bombings, a lightening of the embargo, and a weakened position at a negotiation table dominated by Trump and the Israelies. Or they will be further driven to the conclusion that violent revolution is the only escape from a permanent apartheid state – possible ending any possibility of peace and justice in the region.

Resistant Resources

  • UN Relief and Works Agency – The UNRWA was founded in 1949 to support those Palestinians displaced by the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
  • The US Campaign for Palestinian Rights: The USCPR is an organization founded in 2001 with the mission of shifting US policy towards recognizing the human rights of Palestinians. You can donate on their website.

This Brief was submitted by USRESIST NEWS Analyst Col,in Shanley: Contact

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