The Trump administration has decided to cancel all U.S. funding of the United Nations aid program for Palestinian refugees, part of its determination to put its money where its policy is as it seeks a recalculation of U.S. foreign aid spending and prepares its own Israeli-Palestinian peace plan.

In an announcement to be made within the next several weeks, the administration plans to voice its disapproval of the way the U.N. Relief and Works Agency, or UNRWA, spends the funds and to call for a sharp reduction in the number of Palestinians recognized as refugees, dropping it from more than 5 million, including descendants, to fewer than a tenth of that number or less, comprised of those still alive from when the agency was created seven decades ago, according to officials familiar with the decision.

Any such reduction would effectively eliminate, for most Palestinians, the “right of return” to land contested with Israel. More immediately, many regional foreign policy and security experts, including in Israel, say that slashing UNRWA’s budget, amid a call to “de-register” refugees, would worsen an already disastrous humanitarian situation, especially in Gaza, and sharply increase the level of violence.

In addition to contributions to UNRWA, the United States has provided direct, bilateral assistance to the West Bank and Gaza. Last week, the State Department announced that more than $200 million in already-appropriated aid for this year would be “redirected” elsewhere. The cuts in funding, along with shifts in policy, including recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, are part of a major reshaping of Middle East policy under President Trump.

While few in the region believe that right of return could ever be fully exercised, it has long been considered a core issue to be negotiated in any peace agreement. The administration cannot unilaterally change U.N. rules for who is considered a refugee eligible for UNRWA aid – which now includes descendants of those originally ousted from their land and homes.

The U.N. General Assembly, in which there is great sympathy for the Palestinians, has reapproved UNRWA’s mandate and terms by a massive majority every three years since it created the agency in 1949, one year after the creation of the state of Israel.

The administration’s response is that if the United Nations wants the money, it needs to change UNRWA’s rules and the way it operates.

The administration objects to many things about UNRWA beyond the definition of a refugee. “First of all, you’re looking at the fact that, yes, there’s an endless number of refugees that continue to get assistance, but more importantly, the Palestinians continue to bash America,” Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said Tuesday in remarks at the Washington, D.C.-based Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

Officials of the governing Palestinian Authority, Haley said, “have their hand out wanting UNRWA money,” which pays for schools and essential services for Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, as well as in Jordan, Syria and Lebanon.

The administration also wants countries in the region who carry the banner of Palestinian rights to pay. “Where is Saudi Arabia? Where is the United Arab Emirates? Where is Kuwait?” Haley said. “Do they not care enough about Palestinians to go and give money to make sure these kids are taken care of?”

The U.S. has long been the largest individual donor to UNRWA, pledging about one-third of the agency’s $1.1 billion in 2017 emergency contributions.

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