Palestinian hospital in Jerusalem: US decision to cut aid catastrophic

Makassed Hospital

Responding to the US decision to cancel the $20 million grant allocated to the Palestinian Makassed hospital in occupied Jerusalem, the hospital administration on Saturday that the measure harms live-saving services and confuses political issues with medical and humanitarian ones.

The Hospital admin said in a statement that this decision comes at a time when the hospital is facing a severe financial crisis due to the large cash flow deficit and the outstanding debts of the Palestinian government.

“The hospital’s share of the total US grant is 45 million shekels ($12.5 million), which helps a great deal its various departments and the provision of services for its patients who come from the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and occupied Jerusalem,” it said.

Depriving the hospital of these funds demands an immediate financial intervention from the Palestinian government to help the hospital pay the income tax, the property tax and the pension fund imposed by the Israeli government, said Makassed’s admin.

The statement slammed the US move, which it said makes part of US attempts to pressure the Palestinians to accept its dictates.

US President Donald Trump ordered that $25m earmarked for the medical care of Palestinians in East Jerusalem hospitals be directed elsewhere as part of a review of aid, a State Department official said on Saturday.

Trump called for a review of US assistance to the Palestinians earlier this year to ensure that the funds were being spent in accordance with national interests and were providing value to taxpayers, Reuters reported.

The aid cut is the latest in a number of sanctions by the Trump administration that have stirred the anger of Palestinians, including the recognition of occupied Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and moving the US embassy to occupied Jerusalem from Tel Aviv.

“This is not a formula of peace-building, this is a complete inhuman and immoral action that adopts the Israeli right-wing narrative to target and punish Palestinian citizens to compromise their rights to independence,” AFP cited a Palestinian official as stating.

Human rights groups also condemned such an act of “political blackmail”, which they said goes against the norms of human decency and morality.

(Source / 09.09.2018)

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