U.S. restores support for Palestinians and provides $ 235 million

The Washington / Jerusalem-Baiden administration announced on Wednesday that it would provide Palestinians with $ 235 million in US aid and resume funding UN agencies to support refugees.

The package, which includes humanitarian, economic and development assistance, was detailed by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

Blinken said in a statement that the plan requires $ 150 million through the United Nations Relief Agency UNRWA, $ 75 million for US economic development assistance, and $ 10 million for peacebuilding programs.

Biden’s aides also suggest that they want to reestablish the negotiated two-state solution goal as a priority for US policy on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

However, after the decisive elections in Israel in March, we may wait for further major steps to follow, following the upcoming Palestinian elections in the coming months.

The cuts came after Palestinian leaders decided to boycott the Trump administration’s peace efforts over the decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and move the US embassy there from Tel Aviv.

Israel’s US and UN ambassadors, Gilad Erdan, criticized the renewal of funding for UNRWA and said it allowed anti-Israeli incitement and anti-Semitic activities at the facility.

“We believe that this UN agency for so-called refugees should not exist in its current form,” he said in a video posted on Twitter.

He said in a conversation with the State Department that he “expressed my disappointment and opposition to the decision to renew UNRWA funding” without first confirming that the reforms had been implemented.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had previously called for the dismantling of UNRWA.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will attend the trial evidence stage of the Jerusalem District Court on April 5, 2021 in the Jerusalem District Court in Sara Eldin, East Jerusalem, Israel. (Abir Sultan / Pool Photo via AP)

The United Nations welcomed the resumption of UNRWA funding. “There were some countries that were significantly reduced to stop donating to UNRWA. I hope the US decision will bring others back in as UNRWA donors,” said Stephen, a UN spokesman.・ Dujaric told reporters.

Blinken proposed that the Biden administration seek to reform UNRWA. It accused the Trump administration of being inefficient, overestimating Palestinian refugees and perpetuating the conflict with Israel decades ago.

State Department spokesman Ned Price argued that aid would be allocated “in exact agreement” with US law. He said safeguards were being taken, in opposition to critics who expressed concern that the money could fall into the hands of extremists, especially in Hamas-controlled Gaza.

US State Department spokesman Ned Price
State Department spokesman Ned Price spoke at a daily press conference at the Washington State Department on February 25, 2021. (Pool via Nicholas Cam / Reuters)

US law also prohibits aid that benefits the Palestinian Authority as long as it continues to pay benefits to Palestinian prisoners or their families detained in Israel for anti-Israeli attacks.

Blinken said the United States has “restarted an important security assistance program” with Palestinians.

The funds sent to UNRWA will not immediately recover the $ 365 million US donation to UNRWA in 2017.