The US on Wednesday said it plans to restart economic, development and humanitarian assistance for Palestinians, totaling $235 million.
“This includes $75 million in economic and development assistance in the West Bank and Gaza, $10 million for peacebuilding programs through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and $150 million in humanitarian assistance for the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA),” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement.
Washington is also resuming vital security assistance programs, he said.
“Economic assistance includes support for small and medium enterprises’ recovery from the effects of COVID-19; support for needy households to access basic human needs, such as food and clean water; and assistance for Palestinian civil society,” said Blinken.
The East Jerusalem Hospital Network, which provides lifesaving treatments for Palestinians, will get a portion of the funding, which Blinken said “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 US is also resuming support for UNRWA’s services, including education for more than 500 children.
Blinken said the US encourages “other donors to support programs and activities that work toward a common goal of stability and progress for Israelis and Palestinians alike.”
Palestinians welcomed the move and termed it a “positive step.”
In a statement to Anadolu Agency, Ahmed Majdalani, a member of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), said: “The US declaration is a positive step that can be built upon to resume Washington’s relations with the Palestinian leadership.”
“The step may pave the way for rebuilding relations on various grounds, unlike the previous American administration, which worked to blackmail the Palestinian leadership,” he added.
Former US President Donald Trump froze aid to Palestine as part of his wider push to bring Palestinians to negotiations on his proposed settlement plan to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The proposal was staunchly rejected by Palestinians who dismissed it because of its plethora of concessions to Israel.