Palestine's Abbas to address UN Security Council Feb 20

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The US cut in funding for the United Nations agency that helps Palestinian refugees will put the stability and security of the region at risk, Arab League Secretary General Ahmed Aboul Gheit said on Thursday.

A reduction in food supplies for Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, whose border points are tightly controlled by Israeli and Egyptian authorities, would have catastrophic effects, Schmale said.

More than half of the two million people in Gaza are dependent on support from UNRWA and other humanitarian agencies.

The United States, by far the largest contributor to UNRWA, announced on January 16 that Washington would withhold $65 million of $125 million it had planned for the agency this year. UNRWA, which serves around 5 million Palestinian refugees and their descendants, had a budget of over $1 billion a year ago.

It follows President Donald Trump's announcement in December declaring Jerusalem to be Israel's capital which has created reverberations through the region and countered decades of US foreign policy and global consensus that Jerusalem's status should be decided in negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.

"The first problem is that the USA government has for the first time. linked politics with humanitarian aid, and that is unacceptable for us and the people of the Gaza Strip", Schmale said in the radio interview.

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"Some 200 Palestinians gathered at the entrance of East Jerusalem's Al-Issawiya neighborhood to protest U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to recognize the city as Israel's capital", Amjad Abu Assab, head of the Jerusalem Committee for the Families of Prisoners, an NGO, told Anadolu Agency.

Since Trump broke from decades of USA policy with his December 6 announcement on Jerusalem, Abbas has said he will ask the council to grant full United Nations membership to Palestine and will only accept an internationally-backed panel to broker any peace talks with Israel.

The ministers renewed their rejection of any resolution recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of the Israeli occupation, and considered the transfer of diplomatic missions to it as a violation to the global law and the resolutions of worldwide legitimacy.

If the Security Council agrees to recommend the entity as a "state" for full membership to the General Assembly, the United Nations must still approve it with a two-thirds majority.

That possibility appeared to be dealt a new blow when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday that Israel will retain security control over the Palestinians as part of any future peace deal.

In December, the 193-member General Assembly adopted a resolution calling for the United States to drop its recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital. Twenty-one countries did not vote.

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