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U.S. Delays Payment for Palestinians After Trump Tweet, Sources Say

The U.S. has delayed spending roughly $125 million into the United Nations agency that functions Palestinian refugees, said two individuals familiar with the issue, after President Donald Trump vented his frustration about becoming no “honor” or help in the peace process regardless of American financing.

The U.S., Definitely the biggest contributor to the UN Relief and Works Agency, or UNRWA, had been expected to provide the payment on Jan. 2. However, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson put a hold on the capital while the government reviews its next steps, said among the folks, who asked not to be identified discussing private deliberations.

The delay could be only symbolic, because the U.S. includes a few more weeks before it must make the payment. However, the delay is a break from past practice, when such funds were delivered immediately at the start of the year.

Trump tweeted Jan. 2 the U.S. pays the Palestinians “HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS a year” and gets “no admiration or respect” in return. Nikki Haley, the U.S. Ambassador to the UN, later told reporters the government would cut off aid if the Palestinians refused to take part in peace talks with Israel.

Read a QuickTake Q&A on why Jerusalem’s status is this a controversy

Haley and the government were also angered by action in the UN General Assembly in December, where member states voted 128-9 to condemn Trump’s conclusion to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and proceed the U.S. embassy there from Tel Aviv.

Most nations view the status of Jerusalem, elements of which can be claimed by the Palestinians, as a matter to be determined in final peace discussions. Palestinians officials said Trump’s move disqualified the U.S. out of being a mediator in any Israel-Palestinian discussions.

Trump’s threat against UNRWA financing was popular in Israel, even though government safety officials cautioned that it may fuel violence and strengthen radical Allied forces in the West Bank, said Jonathan Rynhold, manager of Bar Ilan University’s Argov Center for the Study of Israel and the Jewish People.

“Public opinion doesn’t think three moves ahead in strategic terms,” Rynold explained. “It appreciates the immediate symbolism of this U.S. carrying Israel’s side versus the Palestinians. ”

The UN based UNRWA in 1949 to help Palestinian refugees, and it now assists millions of individuals, mostly through educational and health services. It isn’t associated with the Palestinian government and doesn’t even participate in peace negotiations with Israel.

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