SN/Moscow: The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is an ongoing one that began in the mid-20th century. As a result of the conflict, at least 5.6 million Palestinians have become displaced refugees, according to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA).
We are pleased to announce the resumption of U.S. assistance to the Palestinian people. It will provide important humanitarian relief and promote regional prosperity and stability, while advancing American values and interests. https://t.co/nQSWvRKxA3— Secretary Antony Blinken (@SecBlinken) April 7, 2021
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Wednesday announced that the US will provide more than $150 million in aid to a United Nations program for Palestinian refugees, formally called the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA).
The funding would include humanitarian assistance and economic development programs for Palestinians. Specifically, the plan calls for $150 million through the UNRWA, $75 million in US economic support and $10 million in development funding, according to Reuters.
.@jstreetdotorg welcomes ICC sanctions removal, implicitly slams @AIPAC for "shamefully" urging Biden to maintain Trump-imposed sanctions: "We appreciate that the administration rejected such a harmful approach" https://t.co/d5VFYFG6iY— Ben Samuels (@Bsamuels0) April 2, 2021
The UNRWA provides education, food, healthcare and business loan programs to the more than 5.6 million Palestinian refugees spread across regions including the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria.
"Blinken reminds Israel that Palestinians are people too"https://t.co/iNa1fvt9pn— Mairav Zonszein מרב זונשיין (@MairavZ) April 7, 2021
The latest decision by the Joe Biden administration reverses a former Trump-era policy that cut off assistance to the agency. Former US President Donald Trump eliminated support for the humanitarian program in 2018, a decision that was applauded at the time by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Relations between Palestinians and the US deteriorated during the previous administration, after Trump in 2018 decided to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and move the US embassy there.
The United States Restores Assistance for the Palestinians
The United States is pleased to announce that, working with Congress, we plan to restart U.S. economic, development, and humanitarian assistance for the Palestinian people. This includes $75 million in economic and development assistance in the West Bank and Gaza, $10 million for peacebuilding programs through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and $150 million in humanitarian assistance for the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA). We are also resuming vital security assistance programs. All assistance will be provided consistent with U.S. law. Economic assistance includes support for small and medium enterprises’ recovery from the effects of COVID-19; support for needy households to access basic human needs, such as food and clean water; and assistance for Palestinian civil society. A portion of this funding will support the East Jerusalem Hospital Network, as it continues to provide necessary and life-saving treatments to Palestinians. This funding is in addition to the $15 million in humanitarian assistance to address the COVID-19 pandemic and food insecurity the United States announced in March.
The United States is resuming support for UNRWA’s services, including education for over 500,000 Palestinian boys and girls, thereby providing hope and stability in UNRWA’s five fields of operation in Lebanon, Jordan, Syria and the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Funding to UNRWA also provides critical COVID-19 assistance, including healthcare, medicine, and medical supplies, as well as cash and food assistance to families severely impacted by COVID-19. The United States is deeply committed to ensuring that our partnership with UNRWA promotes neutrality, accountability, and transparency. As with all of our engagements with UN institutions, the United States needs to be at the table to ensure that the reforms advance efficiencies and are in accord with our interests and values.
U.S. foreign assistance for the Palestinian people serves important U.S. interests and values. It provides critical relief to those in great need, fosters economic development, and supports Israeli-Palestinian understanding, security coordination and stability. It also aligns with the values and interests of our allies and partners. The United States is committed to advancing prosperity, security, and freedom for both Israelis and Palestinians in tangible ways in the immediate term, which is important in its own right, but also as a means to advance towards a negotiated two-state solution.
The United States encourages other donors to support programs and activities that work toward a common goal of stability and progress for Israelis and Palestinians alike.