First modification: 08/04/2021 – 01:58
A statement from the State Department expresses the decision of President Joe Biden to make contributions again to the UN Agency for Palestinian Refugees (Unrwa, for its acronym in English) and announced a contribution in the order of 150 million dollars. . Additionally, the White House would recognize a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The US State Department announced that it will provide a total of $ 235 million. Of that amount, 150 million will go to the UN agency while another 75 will be for economic and humanitarian assistance in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Additionally, the US Government estimates that it will have 10 million dollars available to consolidate peace efforts in the area.
“The United States is pleased to announce that, in collaboration with Congress, we plan to restart economic, humanitarian and development assistance for the Palestinian people,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement.
We are pleased to announce the resumption of U.S. assistance to the Palestinian people. It will provide important humanitarian relief and promote regional prosperity and stability, while advancing American values and interests. https://t.co/nQSWvRKxA3
— Secretary Antony Blinken (@SecBlinken) April 7, 2021
According to Blinken, the action carried out by the government is part of a series of efforts aimed at repairing US and Palestinian ties, a relationship that was completely fractured during the term of Donald Trump.
Additionally, and according to the AFP news agency citing a conversation between King Abdullah II of Jordan and Joe Biden, the United States would be willing to support “a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”
Tension between Republicans and Democrats is fueled by the measure
The order, according to the Reuters news agency, marks the most significant move by Democratic President Joe Biden since taking office on January 20. In addition, the president is fulfilling his promise to backtrack in some parts on the approach of his predecessor, denounced by the Palestinians as biased in favor of Israel.
It is worth remembering that in August 2018, then-US President Donald Trump decided to cancel the resources directed to the aid program for the Palestinians, supporting his decision in channeling foreign aid spending in the midst of his own peace plan for Israelis and Palestinians.
For its part, the Israeli newspaper ‘The Times of Israel’ points out regarding the decision that this came after an alleged Palestinian boycott of the peace plan proposed by Trump, given the measure of the former president to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
Following the cancellation of resources, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and former US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley defended Trump’s decision on the grounds that the program was responsible for poverty in Palestine.
Additionally, Pompeo, shortly before leaving office, questioned the UN agency accusing it of being “plagued with waste, fraud and concerns about supporting terrorism.”
Prior to the announcement about the restoration of funds for Unrwa, the US government had planned to send about 15 million dollars to the Palestinian people for the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.
Republicans in Congress, where Biden has a majority in both houses, have voiced their opposition to the renewal of funding on the grounds that it could violate some US laws.
Pro-Israel Republicans argue that federal law prohibits direct assistance to the Palestinian Authority or the provision of aid that benefits it as long as it continues to pay stipends to people convicted of anti-US acts, anti-Israel attacks, and their families.
UN and Palestinian Authority applaud the decision, Israel rejects it
After confirming the restoration of resources for the program, the President of Palestine, Mahmoud Abbas, expressed through a statement released by his office that “he renewed his commitment to the two-state solution based on the foundations of international legitimacy. and its willingness to respond to any international effort to achieve this goal. “
For his part, the spokesman for the United Nations for refugees (UNHCR), Stephane Dujarric, was grateful for the return of the United States to the program. “We welcome it with great satisfaction. The relationship between the United States and UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees) is a long-standing relationship. We hope that others will follow suit, ”said Dujarric.
Israel, a country that accuses UNRWA of promoting anti-Semitism and adds that it needs major reform, was dissatisfied with the US decision.
“Israel’s position is that the organization in its current form perpetuates the conflict and does not contribute to its resolution (…) The renewal of aid to Unrwa must be accompanied by substantial and necessary changes in the nature, objectives and conduct of the organization, “Israel’s Foreign Ministry said.
In Washington, Israel’s ambassador, Gilad Erdan, said he was disappointed. “I have voiced my disappointment and objection to the decision to renew funding for Unrwa without first ensuring that certain reforms, including stopping incitement and removing anti-Semitic content from its educational curriculum, are carried out,” he said.
Beyond the conflicting positions, it is likely that any further steps will have to wait for the resolution of the fourth elections held in Israel and what will be the Palestinian elections scheduled for the next few months.
With Reuters, AP and AFP