US aid cut targets Palestinian cause: Arab League chief

Ahmed Aboul Gheit, Secretary-General of Arab League

By Mohamed al-Rayes,

Cairo: Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul-Gheit said Wednesday that the U.S. fund cut to the UN refugee agency was part of a plan to undermine the Palestinian cause.


On Tuesday, the U.S. State Department said it was withholding $65 million in aid to Palestine “for future consideration”.

“This decision does not come apart from [U.S.] recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and [Israeli] settlement building,” Aboul-Gheit told an international conference on Jerusalem in the Egyptian capital.

“This scheme targets the Palestinian cause through Jerusalem, refugees and land,” he said.

Aboul-Gheit said the Arab stance regarding Jerusalem was clear.

“East Jerusalem is an occupied territory and is the capital of the state of Palestine,” he said.

The secretary-general added that Arab foreign ministers would meet on Feb. 1 to discuss Arab moves to support the Palestinian cause.

Organized by Al-Azhar Al-Sharif, the highest seat of learning in the Sunni Muslim world, the international conference on Jerusalem is attended by officials and figures from around 86 countries.

The two-day conference discusses ways of providing support for preserving the Palestinian and Arab identity of the holy city.

On Dec. 6, U.S. President Donald Trump officially recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and ordered the relocation of the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to the holy city.

The U.S. policy shift has triggered outcry in the Arab and Muslim world and a wave of protests in the Palestinian lands that left at least 16 people dead.

Jerusalem remains at the heart of the Israel-Palestine conflict, with Palestinians hoping that East Jerusalem — occupied by Israel since 1967– might eventually serve as the capital of an independent Palestinian state.



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