The US government has resumed aid to Palestine, two years after the Trump administration brought to an end support for the West Bank.
The decision on Wednesday means the US will open taps for $75 million worth of economic and development assistance to the West Bank and Gaza, two of the regions that constitute Palestinian territory.
Another $10 million will be released for peacebuilding programmes through the US Agency for International Development (USAID), and $150 million in humanitarian assistance for the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), the UN organ usually involved in the affairs of refugees in Palestine.
“We are pleased to announce the resumption of US assistance to the Palestinian people,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said.
“It will provide important humanitarian relief and promote regional prosperity and stability, while advancing American values and interests.”
The US government under then President Donald Trump stopped aid to Palestine in 2019 following the coming to place of the Anti-Terrorism Clarification Act (ATCA), passed by Congress and signed into law in 2018. It allowed Americans to sue those receiving foreign aid from their country in US courts over alleged complicity in acts of war.
“We are also resuming vital security assistance programmes. All assistance will be provided consistent with US law,” Blinken said.
Part of the money, he said, will go to economic assistance to support small and medium enterprises’ recovery from the effects of Covid-19; needy households to access 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 money could benefit 500,000 school children supported by UNRWA. The US said the money will be disbursed to the UN agency to ensure political 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.
“The United States encourages other donors to support programmes and activities that work toward a common goal of stability and progress for Israelis and Palestinians alike.”