State Dep’t: U.S. to Resume Financial Aid to Palestinians

YERUSHALAYIM -
Palestinian Chairman Mahmoud Abbas arrives at a meeting of the Palestinian leadership in Ramallah, May 7, 2020. (Flash90)

The United States plans to resume financial aid to the Palestinian Authority, having determined that the decision by the Trump administration to slash it has failed to produce the desired results and was therefore ineffective, a State Department official said Tuesday.

Prior to former President Donald Trump’s 2018 decision to cut aid to the Palestinian Authority over their refusal to engage with its peace efforts, the U.S. was the PA’s single largest donor country and also gave hundreds of millions of dollars in annual funding to the United Nations Works and Relief Agency, which handles Palestinian refugees and their descendants across the Middle East.

International aid to the PA dropped over 60% during 2020.

“The suspension of aid to the Palestinian people has neither produced political progress nor secured concessions from the Palestinian leadership. It has only harmed innocent Palestinians,” State Department Spokesman Ned Price said at a press briefing on Tuesday.

“The U.S. will reinvigorate our humanitarian leadership and work to galvanize the international community to meet its humanitarian obligations, including to the Palestinian people. This is something we’re working on very quickly to restore and announced.”

Last week, Acting U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Richard Mills said that the Biden administration was renewing U.S. relations with the Palestinian leadership and restoring “credible engagement” with the PA with the aim of reigniting the regional peace talks based on the two-state solution.

“Under the new administration, the policy of the United States will be to support a mutually agreed two-state solution, one in which Israel lives in peace and security alongside a viable Palestinian state,” Mills told the U.N. Security Council.

Mills said that Washington will reopen the diplomatic offices serving the Palestinians and restore major aid allocations to the Palestinians, reversing Trump’s policies.

“President Biden has been clear that he intends to take steps to reopen diplomatic relations that were closed by the last U.S. administration,” Mills said.

Trump closed the Palestinian Liberation Organization’s diplomatic mission in Washington in 2018, and in 2019 his administration shuttered the U.S. Consulate in Yerushalayim, which served as the de-facto embassy to the Palestinians in East Yerushalayim, Yehudah, Shomron and the Gaza Strip.

The mission was integrated into the U.S. Embassy in Israel, which Trump had relocated from Tel Aviv to Yerushalayim.