White House Senior Advisor Jared Kushner speaks during the dedication ceremony of the new U.S. embassy in Jerusalem, May 14, 2018. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun
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The Trump administration is aiming to roll out its much-hyped but long-delayed Middle East peace plan next month amid signs it may further alienate the Palestinians by slashing millions of dollars in funding for humanitarian and development projects in the West Bank and Gaza.Five U.S. officials and a congressional aide say the administration intends to release the peace plan in mid- to late-June, shortly after the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, although they cautioned that the timing could slip depending on developments in the region. The administration has been resisting congressional demands to fully close the Palestine Liberation Organization office in Washington because Greenblatt and Kushner want to keep that channel open in case the Palestinians are open to re-entering negotiations with Israel based on the plan.If that does not happen, the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development will have to notify aid recipients that continued U.S. funding is not forthcoming and those programs will begin to be shut down.Of $251 million in U.S. aid planned for the Palestinians in 2018, only $50.5 million has been reported spent, according to the government's online tracker, www.foreignassistance.gov. Nearly all of the others will run out of money in early 2019 unless the U.S. funding is unblocked, they said.
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