Washington to terminate USAID office in Palestine on Jan 31 – ex-director

  18 January 2019    Read: 1666
Washington to terminate USAID office in Palestine on Jan 31 – ex-director

The US Agency for International Development (USAID) will cut funding to all its projects in the West Bank and Gaza Strip on January 31, Dave Harden, former USAID mission director and managing director of the Georgetown Strategy Group, said Thursday.

Harden lamented the White House's decision, adding that the administration "demonstrates again a lack of nuance, sophistication and appreciation for the complexity of the situation," according to the Jerusalem Post.

"Who suffers when USAID leaves schools and water systems unfinished? Palestinians, of course, but also Israelis and Americans. The administration just gave Hamas more running room," Harden said.

He later tweeted that the decision to close the office is "another example of the end of the two-state solution" to the Israel-Palestine conflict.

The decision to cut US foreign aid to Palestinians was announced by US President Donald Trump's administration in August 2018.

"At the direction of President Trump, we have undertaken a review of US assistance to the Palestinian Authority and in the West Bank and Gaza to ensure these funds are spent in accordance with US national interests and provide value to the US taxpayer," the State Department said at the time. "As a result of that review, at the direction of the president, we will redirect more than $200 million… originally planned for programs in the West Bank and Gaza."

The Jerusalem Post reports it has learned that several foreign workers who were tasked with various USAID projects in both Palestinian territories left the country, together with their families, in recent weeks and months, further confirming the expectation that the agency will shutter its Palestinian branch.


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