(MENAFN- The Peninsula) GAZA CITY, Palestine:A U.S. decision to suspend financial aid earmarked for the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which is responsible for helping some 5.3 million Palestinian refugees, is aimed at "ending the Palestinian cause", according to Hamas.
In a Wednesday statement, the Gaza-based resistance group condemned the move, calling on the UNRWA to resist "U.S. pressure" aimed at eroding Palestinian rights.
The group went on to urge the UN and international rights groups to maintain their support for the Palestinian people and cause.
On Tuesday, the U.S. announced its decision to suspend $65 million in financial aid to UNRWA "for future consideration".
"It [the aid] is not being cancelled," U.S. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert told reporters. "It's just being held for future consideration."
She added, however, that $60 million in U.S. financial aid would still be disbursed to the refugee agency.
The move, Nauert stressed, bore no relation to the sensitive issue of Jerusalem, which came to the fore early last month when U.S. President Donald Trump recognized the city as Israel's capital.
Jerusalem remains at the heart of the Middle East conflict, with Palestinians hoping that Israeli-occupied East Jerusalem might eventually serve as the capital of a Palestinian state.
Trump had earlier threatened to reduce aid to both UNRWA and the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority in response to Palestinian fury over his Jerusalem decision.
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