The US ended its economic and humanitarian aid to Palestine.
The latest and final cut to these programs concerns a relatively paltry $10 million initiative and comes on the back of $500 million in other aid that was discontinued over the past year in what critics have condemned as a crude campaign to pressure the Palestinians into agreeing to “concessions” with Israel as part of Trump’s forthcoming so-called “deal of the century”. While that definitely has a lot to do with this, one can’t disregard the domestic political drivers behind this move either, especially since Trump promised on the campaign trail that he’d curtail foreign aid, particularly to countries that aren’t on excellent terms with the US.
America has never been an impartial player in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict despite its disingenuous claims to the contrary, though many across the world believe that it nevertheless has a moral obligation to continue funding Palestinian aid programs because its unwavering support of Israeli unilateralism contributes to indefinitely perpetuating the deplorable humanitarian situation in the West Bank and Gaza. Trump, however, sees things differently and his administration doesn’t care what the global consensus is on any issue. If anything, he seeks to disrupt the status quo simply for the sake of shaking things up and creating new opportunities for the US to shape the resultant outcome.
For as morally deplorable as the US’ decision might be to put an end to its Palestinian aid programs in order to tacitly blackmail its leadership into selling out to Israel, there’s nevertheless a certain strategic logic in doing so, and this policy wouldn’t have any chance at succeeding had the rest of the world that purports to back the Palestinians didn’t allow the US to dominate these programs through its funding. Simply put, other countries didn’t want to foot the bill for improving the Palestinians’ livelihoods but still wanted to present themselves as supporters of “the cause”, all the while lambasting the US for its biased backing of Israel even though American funds are apparently doing more for the average Palestinian than anyone else’s.
Had these programs not been effective to some degree, then it wouldn’t matter that they were discontinued, but the global uproar over the US’ decision to do so suggests that they actually made some kind of a difference. Moreover, the countries who claimed to be steadfast supporters of the Palestinian cause must now step up to fill the funding void if they want to maintain the existing state of humanitarian affairs, but therein lays the rub because, proverbially speaking, many governments don’t want to “put their money where their mouth is”. Trump exposed their hypocrisy, and that’s another reason why they’re so furious.
It’s impossible for any of those actors to pretend that the US is impartial to the conflict and might one day pivot towards the Palestinians after the undeniably pro-Israeli moves that Trump’s committed to since entering into office. It’s now incumbent on the so-called “international community” to prove whether they ever really supported the Palestinians or if they said they did because it was the “politically correct” slogan to shout. Even among the countries that don’t have relations with Israel such as the majority of those in the Ummah, they can at least increase their funding of UN programs in order to collectively offset the humanitarian consequences of the US formally abandoning the Palestinians.
Unlike before, there are no longer any “publicly plausible” excuses for them not to.