White House Will Ask Congress for $75 Million to Help Gaza

WASHINGTON (REUTERS/Hamodia) -
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks during a joint press conference with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah, May 25, 2021. (Alex Brandon/Pool via REUTERS)

The Biden administration will ask the U.S. Congress for $75 million development and economic assistance for Palestinians, Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced on Tuesday, and added that Washington will be moving forward with the process to reopen the U.S. Consulate in Yerushalayim.

Speaking after his meeting with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, Blinken said the United States would also provide $5.5 million in immediate disaster assistance for Gaza and $32 million to United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA).

The consulate was the official U.S. diplomatic mission to the Palestinian Authority for over two decades, until the Trump administration closed it, incorporating its offices into the new U.S. Embassy in Yerushalayim in 2019. The decision to reopen it is part of the Biden administration’s policy of improving relations with the Palestinians.

American officials have been saying that the recent Gaza fighting showed the need for a functioning consulate there, that without it, Washington was “flying blind” during much of the crisis, according to Walla.

“As I told both Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Abbas, the United States will go forward with the reopening of its consulate in Jerusalem. This is an important step,” Blinken said.

The consulate reopening will, however, require the approval of the Israeli government. The Israelis have so far been non-committal.