(March 31, 2021 / JNS) The Biden administration has allocated $90 million in aid to the Palestinians, with only a portion of the money being publicly announced, according to a report by the Associated Press.
The United States announced last week that it would give $15 million in coronavirus relief to the Palestinians. However, the Biden administration notified Congress a day later, without a public announcement, that it will allocate $75 million to the Palestinians for economic support to be used in part to regain their “trust and goodwill” following Trump administration cuts, the AP report said.
The State Department declined to comment on the report, and it remains unclear if the $75 million includes the $15 million in COVID aid.
U.S. President Joe Biden has been outspoken in wanting to re-engage with the international community, especially European allies but also with Iran and the Palestinians, and rolling back many of former President Donald Trump’s foreign-policy positions.
State Department spokesman Ned Price says that in general, the United States supports the restoration of aid to the Palestinians.
“We continue to believe that American support for the Palestinian people, including financial support, is consistent with our values. It is consistent with our interests. Of course, it is consistent with the interests of the Palestinian people. It’s also consistent with the interests of our partner, Israel, and we’ll have more to say on that going forward,” he told reporters.
The Trump administration cut nearly all aid to the Palestinian Authority as part of the Taylor Force Act, which prohibits U.S. aid to the P.A. as long as it continues to provide support to terrorists or their families.
According to USAID’s congressional notification, much of the $75 million will go towards short-term projects aimed at rebuilding U.S.-Palestinian relations. This includes $5.4 million to Palestinian civic groups, including possibly independent media in the West Bank and Gaza, as well as funding for the health-care sector and the resumption of assistance to the East Jerusalem Hospital Network.
Additionally, the Biden administration seeks to fund sanitation, water supply, transportation infrastructure, social services, job training for Palestinian youth, micro-loans and grants for small businesses, and disaster preparedness.
The USAID notification said that it would adhere to U.S. law for providing the money.
Said the notice: “USAID adheres to rigorous partner anti-terrorism vetting and certification, auditing and monitoring procedures to help ensure that its assistance does not go to Hamas or other terrorist organizations.”
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