UN agency for Palestinians seeks funds after US cuts

The U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees has launched what it is calling an "unprecedented" fund-raising appeal seeking hundreds of millions of dollars in response to funding cuts by the Trump administration.

UNRWA's commissioner-general, Pierre Krahenbuhl, on Monday called last week's U.S. decision "abrupt and harmful." His agency provides education, health and welfare services for more than 5 million refugees and their descendants across the Middle East. Some two-thirds of Gaza's 2 million people rely on UNRWA for assistance.

The "Dignity is Priceless" campaign aims to raise $500 million to ensure that the agency's core services are unaffected.

The U.S., which is the largest donor to UNRWA, withheld a $65 million payment.

President Donald Trump has blamed the Palestinians for a deadlock in peace efforts and threatened to cut U.S. assistance.