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US ends funding for 'coexistence' programs

According to Senator Patrick Leahy's foreign policy aide Tim Reiser, officials from the US Agency for International Development (USAID) told congressional aides that programs benefiting PA Arabs as well as Israelis would no longer receive any new money, the Times added.

However, programs which involve Israeli Jews and Arabs will still receive funding, as will programs which are on multiyear grants.

USAID is "currently unable to engage Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza as a result of the administration’s recent decision on Palestinian assistance," the organization said Friday. However, it will continue providing "support for civil society working on these issues within Israel."

The cut, which totals $10 million, means that PA non-governmental organizations (NGOs) will not receive funds, Alliance for Middle East Peace Executive Director Joel Braunold said.

Programs include meetings between Israeli and PA almond farmers, as well as soccer games between Israeli and PA girls and meetings between Jewish and Arab residents of Jerusalem.

"I continue to believe in the importance of building relationships between Israelis and Palestinians, particularly kids," US Special Envoy to the Middle East Jason Greenblatt tweeted.

"But both Palestinian and Israeli kids will lose, and these programs will be meaningless, if the PA continues to condemn a plan they haven’t seen & refuses to engage on it. Hopefully the PA will lead... let’s see..."


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