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UN Appeals for Reduced Funds for Palestinians Amid US Cuts

FILE - Palestinian children hold bread patties during a protest against aid cuts, outside the United Nations' offices in Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip on Jan. 28, 2018.

The United Nations on Monday urged donor states to give $350 million in aid for Palestinians in 2019, saying it needed more but had to be "realistic" following swathing U.S. cuts.

The U.N. said the appeal, down from $539 million in 2018, was due to a lack of available donor funds across the globe.

It aims to support 1.4 million Palestinians through more than 200 projects.

The United States has announced it will cut almost all of its aid to Palestinians, having previously provided around $500 million a year through different mechanisms including the U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees UNRWA.

The appeal for funds, called the Humanitarian Response Plan and done in conjunction with Palestinian authorities, received in the past $100 million in U.S. funding.

Jamie McGoldrick, U.N. humanitarian coordinator for the Palestinian territories, said due to a lack of donors the U.N. had to be more "realistic" when asking for funds.

"We have taken this humanitarian response plan to the most focused and prioritized it could possibly be," he said at the launch of the appeal in the city Ramallah in the occupied West Bank.

The majority of the funds will go to the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, where two million Palestinians live crammed into a small territory under an Israel blockade, with more than two thirds relying on aid.

With its economy in a free fall and tensions with Israel rising, Gaza is imploding, U.N. envoy for the Middle East Nickolay Mladenov warned in October.

Last year the U.N. appeal received only $220 million of the funds requested.

Areas that have seen major decreases in funding include water, food security and shelter, U.N. officials said.