US halting US$25 million to hospitals in East Jerusalem

AP, WASHINGTON

Mon, Sep 10, 2018 - Page 5

US President Donald Trump’s administration on Saturday said it is cutting US$25 million meant for East Jerusalem hospitals and putting the money toward “high-priority projects elsewhere.”

The move follows the US Department of State’s announcement late last month that the administration was slashing more than US$200 million in bilateral aid to the Palestinians following a review that Trump ordered to ensure the spending was aligned with US national interests.

The Palestinians had held out hope that the hospital money would be spared because it was not included in the earlier cut.

The Palestinian Authority on Saturday denounced the move as “an act of political blackmail.”

The State Department said the review was intended to make sure the US aid was “being spent in accordance with US national interests and were providing value to the US taxpayer.”

The US “will be redirecting approximately US$25 million originally planned for the East Jerusalem Hospital Network. Those funds will go to high-priority projects elsewhere,” it added.

Palestine Liberation Organization executive committee member Hanan Ashrawi accused the Trump administration of threatening to cause “serious instability and grave harm” to thousands of patients and their families across the West Bank and Gaza Strip.