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A boy sits near the sacks of flours during a food aid distribution by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). Photo: Ali Jadallah / Anadolu Agency / Getty Images

The Trump administration has decided to continue freezing $65 million of the annual funding it gives the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, which provides aid to Palestinian refugees — but it will release $60 million to the organization for "urgent humanitarian needs," U.S. officials say.

Between the lines: The decision was a compromise. Axios reported earlier this month that the Trump administration froze $125 million of the annual funding to UNRWA, which was supposed to be transferred to the organization by Jan. 1, in retaliation for Palestinian protests against President Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

The back story: In the last 10 days there were interagency discussions about whether to release the funding, cut it completely or partially unfreeze it.

The State Department and the Pentagon were in favor of releasing the money, and stressed that further freezing it might destabilize the situation in the Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon, Jordan and Gaza. On the other hand, U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley and several White House officials supported freezing the funding.

What they're saying:

  • U.S. officials say that out of the $125 million that was frozen, $60 million will be released and transferred to the program budget of UNRWA "to help sustain schools and health services by ensuring teachers' and health care providers' salaries continue through UNRWA's operations in Jordan and the West Bank/Gaza."
  • A senior U.S. official said: "Without the funds we are providing today, UNRWA operations were at risk of running out of funds and closing down.  The funds provided by the United States will prevent that from happening for the immediate future".
  • On the other hand: An additional $65 million will be held for future consideration, the U.S. official added. He said that there is a need "to undertake a fundamental reexamination of UNRWA, both in the way it operates and the way it is funded".
  • What to watch: The official added that the United States should not be asked to bear a disproportionate share of these costs.

Go deeper

Schumer's m(aj)ority checklist

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Capitalizing on the Georgia runoffs, achieving a 50-50 Senate and launching an impeachment trial are weighty to-dos for getting Joe Biden's administration up and running on Day One.

What to watch: A blend of ceremonies, hearings and legal timelines will come into play on Tuesday and Wednesday so Chuck Schumer can actually claim the Senate majority and propel the new president's agenda.

The dark new reality in Congress

National Guard troops keep watch at security fencing. Photo: Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

This is how bad things are for elected officials and others working in a post-insurrection Congress:

  • Rep. Norma Torres (D-Calif.) said she had a panic attack while grocery shopping back home.
  • Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) said police may also have to be at his constituent meetings.
  • Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) told a podcaster he brought a gun to his office on Capitol Hill on Jan. 6 because he anticipated trouble with the proceedings that day.
Off the Rails

Episode 3: Descent into madness ... Trump: "Sometimes you need a little crazy"

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photos: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. This Axios series takes you inside the collapse of a president.

Episode 3: The conspiracy goes too far. Trump's outside lawyers plot to seize voting machines and spin theories about communists, spies and computer software.

President Trump was sitting in the Oval Office one day in late November when a call came in from lawyer Sidney Powell. "Ugh, Sidney," he told the staff in the room before he picked up. "She's getting a little crazy, isn't she? She's really gotta tone it down. No one believes this stuff. It's just too much."