The Biden government has announced plans to resume the money for the United Nations agency that supports Palestinian refugees, which has faced a serious financial situation since former US President Donald Trump cut US aid in 2018.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated in a statement on Wednesday, the United States would provide $ 150 million in humanitarian aid to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA).
UNRWA provides assistance and other services, including health care and education, to approximately 5.7 million Palestinian refugees in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, Lebanon and Jordan – and the agency welcomes the US announcement.
“UNRWA could no longer be satisfied that we will once again work with the United States to facilitate critical support to some of the most helpless refugees in the Middle East and fulfil our mandate to educate millions of refugees every day and provide primary health care,” UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini said in a statement.
Blinken said the US also intends to provide Palestinians with $ 75 million in economic and development aid for the occupied West Bank and Gaza, as well as $ 10 million for peacebuilding programs through the US International Development Agency (USAID).
His statement added that Washington would resume “essential security assistance” without going into more detail.
‘The United States is committed to promoting prosperity, security and freedom for both Israelis and Palestinians in substantial ways in the paramount term, which is significant in its own right but also as a way to move towards a negotiated two-state solution, ”said Blinken.
US President Joe Biden, who assumed office on January 20, has vowed to take a different approach to Palestinian relations than his predecessor.
The US has always been an ardent defender of Israel, but Trump has taken the relationship to new heights – and had a close relationship with Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s longtime right-wing prime minister.
The Trump administration has blocked almost all aid to Palestinians after severing ties with the Palestinian Authority in 2018. The progress was widely seen as an effort to force the Palestinians to consult with Israel on terms that the Palestinian leadership described as an attempt to deny them a viable one. state.
Although Biden has vowed to re-establish US diplomatic relations with the Palestinian Authority (PA) and restore US aid to Palestinians, his government has indicated it refuses to reverse some of Trump’s most divisive policies on the conflict.
It is said that this would not reverse Trump’s decision to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, or the diplomatic normalization agreements mediated by the Trump administration between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco.
UNRWA came under pressure from Israel and its allies for years, demanding the abolition of the agency and handing over its mission to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
Most of the refugees assisted by the agency are descendants of several 700,000 Palestinians who were driven from their homes or fled to fight in the 1948 war that led to the creation of Israel – and observers say that pressure at UNRWA is part of an effort to secure the rights of refugees.
Gilad Erdan, the Israeli ambassador to the United States and the United Nations, overturned the decision by the Biden government on Wednesday. “Instead of resolving the conflict, UNRWA is continuing it. “Every return to finance must depend on necessary reforms,” Erdan stated on Twitter.
But Ahmed Abu Huly, a member of the executive committee of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), stated he would hold a Zoom meeting with Richard Albright, US State Department official, to appreciate the ” very important support “and said he hopes it will continue. .