President Donald Trump has signed an executive order halting all US funding to United Nations agencies which recognize the Palestinian Authority (PA) or Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) as a full member, the New York Times reported on Wednesday. Other international bodies and programs which recognize the Palestinians will also be targeted.
The order, entitled “Auditing and Reducing U.S. Funding of International Organizations”, will create a committee tasked with investigating U.S. aid to all international programs and determining if the organizations meet the criteria for defunding. The review process will result in either a drastic reduction or complete cutting of monies to agencies which violate that criteria.
Along with giving full membership to the PA or PLO, agencies will also be defunded for supporting reproductive rights or engaging in activities which violate international sanctions against Iran or North Korea.
The order also calls for withdrawing funding from any organization that “is controlled or substantially influenced by any state that sponsors terrorism.”
The executive order is actually based on an existing U.S. statute which mandates that US funding must be withdrawn from any UN agencies which “accords the Palestine Liberation Organization the same standing as member states.”
That statute forced President Barack Obama to defund UNESCO in 2011 after it accepted the Palestinian Authority as a member.
Trump’s executive order calls for “at least a 40 percent overall decrease” in the total amount of aid which the U.S. gives to international organizations. If signed and enacted, the order would drastically slash the budgets of UN agencies, which rely on billions of dollars in U.S. aid annually. Making up 22 percent of its budget, the U.S.’s contributions to the UN far outstrip that of any other country.
The U.N.’s anti-Israel bias is well-documented, as is its noted sympathy to the Palestinian cause. Trump has denounced the international body’s targeting of Israel, warning after the U.N. condemned Israeli settlements in a resolution last month that “things will be different” after his inauguration.