Tens of thousands of Palestinians are no longer getting food aid or basic health services from the United States as US-funded infrastructure projects have been halted.
The Trump administration’s decision last year to cut more than $200m in development aid to the Palestinians is forcing NGOs to slash programs and lay off staff as the effects ripple through a community that has spent more than two decades promoting peace in the Middle East.
President Trump says the USAID cuts are aimed at pressuring the Palestinians to return to peace talks, but Palestinian officials say the move has further poisoned relations after the US recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital last year.
Aid groups, many of which have little or no connection to the Palestinian Authority, say the cuts hurt the most vulnerable Palestinians and those most committed to peace with Israel.
Sadeqa Nasser, a woman living in Gaza’s Jabaliya refugee camp, used her monthly $130 voucher to support her disabled husband, their six children and four grandchildren. She says her sons each bring in less than $5 a day from odd jobs. “They cannot afford to buy food for their families, so I help them out,” she said.
Since the aid was cut off, she’s been able to qualify for welfare payments from the Palestinian Authority, which itself relies heavily on foreign aid. “Without it, we would go hungry,” she said.