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In the latest blow dealt by the American government to the Palestinians, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), which was responsible for millions of dollars of aid projects in the occupied Palestinian territory, will be laying off some 85% of its local staff in the coming weeks. There has been speculation that the Trump administration ordered the job cuts as part of the lead up to unveiling its peace plan, which is set to be released in the coming months.

In late December, dozens of humanitarian organizations, businesses, educational institutions, and local municipalities across the West Bank and Gaza were faced with a harsh reality: grants they had been promised for 2019 from USAID, one of the largest and most important humanitarian agencies in the region, would not be coming. The decision to shut down USAID in the West Bank and Gaza is the latest in a series of efforts by the Trump administration to force Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian Authority to the negotiating table.