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United States cuts aid to Palestinians

Palestinian fishermen return from fishing in Gaza City, Gaza. Photo: Ali Jadallah/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

After months of review by the State Department and the White House, President Trump has decided to cut $200 million in civilian aid to the Palestinian Authority and for projects in the West Bank and Gaza, the State Department said in a statement. 

Why it matters: The decision comes 9 months after President Trump's Jerusalem announcement, which prompted Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to cut all ties with the White House. Those two developments created huge difficulties for the Trump administration to push forward with it's peace plan, which the White House is still debating when to launch. The aid cut also comes as Egypt and the U.N. are working on a stabilization deal for Gaza which will include a major push for humanitarian aid and reconstruction for the strip. 

The details: The statement said the funds will now address high-priority projects elsewhere, and explained, "This decision takes into account the challenges the international community faces in providing assistance in Gaza, where Hamas control endangers the lives of Gaza’s citizens and degrades an already dire humanitarian and economic situation."

State Department officials said the U.S. did provided a combined $61 million in funding for Palestinian security services in the West Bank. The officials added that providing assistance to the East Jerusalem Hospital Network is still under review, and a decision needs to be made soon about the funding to UNRWA.

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