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The Interview

'Unprecedented crisis' after US freezes Palestinian funding

The head of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, known by its acronym UNRWA, says the "abrupt" decision by the Trump administration to withhold funding has provoked an "unprecedented crisis" for the agency. In an interview with FRANCE 24, Pierre Krähenbühl says he believes UNRWA's funding "got caught up in political discussions" about the status of Jerusalem and regrets that humanitarian aid is not safeguarded from political calculations.

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UNRWA chief Pierre Krähenbühl says he was surprised by the US decision to withhold funding because he had "good" meetings with Trump administration officials in November 2017. He believes the decision to withhold $65 million from UNRWA was a political move linked to the UN General Assembly's vote to reject Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital.

Krähenbühl urged the rest of the international community to help fill the funding gap, stressing that Gulf countries could provide more money to help Palestinian refugees.

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