According to an Aug. 6 article by the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, Jared Kushner — President Donald Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law — has reportedly pressured Jordan to strip the refugee status of more than 2 million registered Palestinians living in the country.
Haaretz reported that the Palestinians’ chief negotiator, Saeb Erekat, told reporters after Kushner’s visit to Jordan that the latter’s delegation said it was ready to stop the United Nations Relief and Works Agency from redirecting the sum allocated to the agency to Jordan and other countries that host refugees.
According to Haaretz, e-mails written by Kushner and obtained by Foreign Policy point to Kushner’s evident dismay with the UN agency as well as to discreet attempts to put a stop to its work — a move that would essentially render millions of Palestinian refugees status-less.
“It is important to have an honest and sincere effort to disrupt UNRWA,” Kushner reportedly wrote to Trump’s Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt in an email Jan. 11, 2018. “This [agency] perpetuates a status quo, is corrupt, inefficient and doesn’t help peace.”
History of US Funding
Haaretz reported that the U.S. has helped fund UNRWA since it was formed in 1949 to provide aid to Palestinians displaced from their homes following the establishment of Israel. The agency is considered to be a significant actor in the region, mainly due to the fact that it has been providing food and other essential services to Palestinian refugees for decades.