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Trump promotes Jordan, downgrades PLO and defunds UNRWA

By David Singer - posted Wednesday, 28 February 2018

US Secretary of State - Rex Tillerson - was in Jordan las week delivering some very good news for Jordan - but not for the PLO and UNRWA.

Tillerson announced America’s commitment to fund Jordan to the tune of $1.275 billion per annum for the next five years - an increase of $275 million per annum over the previous annual commitment of $1 billion per annum during 2015-2017.

Part of this increased funding seems certain to come from defunding UNRWA - which receives about $355 million per annum from America. $65 million to UNRWA has already been frozen following President Trump’s earlier warning.


Tillerson stated that America’s ongoing contribution to UNRWA is dependent upon what other non-donor States who can afford to contribute to UNRWA are willing to do.  

Trump has also expressed his annoyance at countries that take America’s money then show hostile intent in the United Nations when voting on matters inimical to American interests – such as America’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and move the US Embassy there.

Jordan had voted with 127 other nations at a rare emergency meeting of the General Assembly on 21 December 2017 asking nations not to establish diplomatic missions in Jerusalem.

Yet Jordan has not been punished financially by Trump for that decision but has seen its funding substantially increased.

Secretary Tillerson justified America’s decision at his joint press conference with Jordanian Minister of Foreign Affairs Ayman Safadi - citing:

  1. The truly indispensable strategic partnership for decades between the United States and Jordan that’s been critical to the security of both nations, as well as contributing to the region’s security.
  2. Jordan receiving [650000] displaced Syrian refugees.
  3. Jordan actively participating in the Global Coalition to Defeat Islamic State
  4. Jordan cutting diplomatic ties with North Korea

Tillerson’s North Korea remarks were particularly significant since the “Embassy of Palestine” remains open in North Korea.

Trump has also certainly not forgotten PLO Chairman Mahmoud Abbas’s extraordinary two-hour-long anti-American and Jew-hating diatribe delivered on January 14.

Tillerson also stressed President Trump’s commitment to respecting Jordan’s role as the Custodian of the Holy Sites in Jerusalem. This special role was assigned to Jordan in the 1994 Jordan-Israel Peace Treaty and seems set to be one of the cardinal planks in President Trump’s eagerly-awaited proposals to resolve the Jewish-Arab conflict.

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About the Author

David Singer is an Australian Lawyer, a Foundation Member of the International Analyst Network and Convenor of Jordan is Palestine International - an organisation calling for sovereignty of the West Bank and Gaza to be allocated between Israel and Jordan as the two successor States to the Mandate for Palestine. Previous articles written by him can be found at

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Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

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