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“We need a respectful, mutual listening, free of ideology and predetermined agendas.” Pope Francis, Let us Dream, December 2020

Catholic workers say US aid cuts to Palestinians could be disastrous

The US budgetary cuts to humanitarian aid institutions helping Palestinians could lead to long-term disastrous consequences, said Catholic aid workers in the region.

“There is concern that the humanitarian situation in Gaza, which is already dire, will be made worse,” Hilary DuBose, who represents Catholic Relief Services in Jerusalem, West Bank and Gaza, told Catholic News Service. “These massive budget cuts being made will impact CRS programmes, though it is difficult to estimate (at this point) what that will be.”

In early September, US President Donald Trump said his administration would cut $200 million of aid to medical and humanitarian aid providers. He had already announced that the US would withhold $350 million from the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East – amounting to more than one-quarter of the organisation’s annual budget.

DuBose said CRS’ five-year $50-million programme ‘Envision Gaza 2020’, which is funded by USAID and provides food and necessity vouchers as well as short-term employment opportunities for Palestinians in Gaza, will be directly impacted by Trump’s decision.

The programme has been providing assistance to 155,000 Gazans through USAID funds, she said, and by the end of October they will be serving “zero.”

Picture: Palestinian youths run for cover from tear gas fired by Israeli troops during a 10th September protest along a beach in the Gaza Strip. The US budgetary cuts to humanitarian aid institutions providing assistance to Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank could lead to long-term disastrous consequences, said aid workers in the region. (CNS photo/Mohammed Salem, Reuters).