February 2, 2024

Building A Just Peace

MADRE Denounces Cuts in Aid to Palestine

Media: Statement Region: Palestine

The Biden Administration’s choice to suspend aid for UNRWA, the largest humanitarian agency in Gaza, is an act of cruelty that compounds the suffering and human rights violations that have already been imposed on Palestinian people. MADRE condemns this decision as an act of collective punishment against Palestinians, one which must be urgently reversed.

This latest UNRWA decision follows a larger pattern. In a report released February 5 by the Institute for Journalism and Social Change, titled “International Aid for Palestine: Disproportionate Cuts, Overwhelming Damage,” research reveals that the US slashed bilateral aid for development and humanitarian projects in Palestine by more than 90% between 2013 and 2022. This has been replicated by other Western nations, including the UK which cut aid to Palestine by 70% over the same time period. What’s more, as this report shows, Palestinian women’s rights organizations received less than 0.4% of total aid between 2013-2022.

These systemic cuts have a particularly devastating impact on women and girls, whose health and safety needs are often deprioritized by aid agencies facing budget cuts. Moreover, without the resources to provide essential services and guarantee rights to food, health, water and more, women and girls are especially vulnerable: women are giving birth by cesarean section without anesthesia, malnourished new mothers cannot breastfeed, and mothers are starving themselves to feed their children. These aid cuts are a devastating attack on care infrastructure – hospitals, schools, and shelters – that is vital to meet the needs of a community in crisis and that has been the backbone of the humanitarian response in Gaza.

Now, rather than advancing policies that meet human needs and protect the most vulnerable communities from starvation, disease and death, US legislators are escalating threats to future UNRWA funding.

We call on the US and all nations who have cut funding to UNRWA to restore this aid as an essential lifeline to millions of Palestinian people, who are displaced, brutalized and still facing an onslaught of Israeli military attacks. We further call for a ceasefire that will halt the killings and make it possible for humanitarian aid and efforts to save lives.

Read our prior statements on the conflict in Palestine here. 

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