Daniel Estrin

The Trump administration could be on the verge of cutting millions of dollars of aid to the Palestinians, funds that could be critical at a time when there's a humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip, current and former U.S. officials tell NPR.

Early this year, the United States froze most of the $251 million earmarked for Palestinian aid projects, after the Palestinian Authority protested the administration's recognition of the contested city of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

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Thousands of Israelis protested in Tel Aviv this evening over what they see as changes in the nature of the country's democracy.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTERS: (Chanting in Hebrew).

Updated at 12:11 p.m. ET

The United States has long boasted of giving more money to help the Palestinian people in recent decades, in development and humanitarian aid, than any other country has.

But not this year.

The Trump administration is withholding millions of dollars in aid for the Palestinians, even money that seeks to address a deepening humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip.

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A short walk from the new U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem is a stone apartment building on a leafy street that might as well be a metaphor for Israelis' love-hate relationship with the city and its religious character.

On the ground floor, a religious Jewish Israeli man has moved in with his family. One floor up, a secular Jewish Israeli woman has moved out.

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This was the day the U.S. opened an embassy in Jerusalem, an endorsement of the Israeli view that the contested city is Israel's capital. The American delegation included President Trump's daughter and senior adviser Ivanka.

When the U.S. opens its new embassy in Jerusalem on Monday and endorses the city as the capital of Israel, it will also be endorsing a strange reality. About 38 percent of the city's residents are not Israeli at all. They are Palestinian. And they want to establish their own capital in the city.

Israel refuses. Instead, Israel has reshaped Jerusalem in a way that leaves many Palestinians struggling to maintain their foothold in the city that is their home.

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