We’ve thrown $10b at Palestinians; peace isn’t a millimeter closer

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David Friedman

The United States has “thrown more than $10 billion” in aid to the Palestinians, but that spending has brought the region no closer to peace or stability, the US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman charged Tuesday, in an address explaining why US President Donald Trump thought it was important to halt US funding to UNRWA, the UN’s Palestinian refugee agency.

Friedman lamented that US taxpayer funds, rather than be used positively, had been partly spent on Palestinian Authority stipends to terrorists, to fund inciteful education, and to finance an agency — UNRWA — that, by extending refugee status to descendants of Palestinian refugees, was perpetuating rather than helping solve the refugee problem.

“Since 1994, the United States has thrown more than $10 billion in humanitarian aid to the Palestinians,” Friedman said in a Rosh Hashanah speech. “Without minimizing the importance of medical treatment and quality education for children — and we don’t minimize that, not even for a minute — we found that these expenditures were bringing the region no closer to peace or stability, not even by a millimeter,” he said.

“To spend hard-earned taxpayer dollars to fund stipends to terrorists and their families, to expend funds to perpetuate rather than to mitigate refugee status, and to finance hate-filled textbooks — I ask you, how does that provide value to the United States or the region?”

Friedman added that the US would continue to seek other ways of supporting Palestinians.

“Make no mistake, the USA is a generous nation and we would love, truly love, to invest in this region for the return on investment of peace and stability in Israel and a better quality of life for the Palestinians,” he said. “Indeed, we continue to provide funding, 40 percent of the funding for the UN High Commission on Refugees. UNHCR, in contrast to UNRWA, seeks to end statelessness, not deploy it as a political weapon.”

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