It relates to a package of $ 235 million (approximately € 198 million) for financial and humanitarian aid. The largest portion (150 million) goes to the United Nations, UNRWA, which represents more than 5 million refugees living inside and outside the Palestinian territories. In addition to 75 million for economic aid in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and 10 million for reconstruction through USAID. Additionally, Biden promises that the United States will push again for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
In this way, the Biden administration hopes to restore America’s relationship with the Palestinians. This is no longer a problem, because according to the Palestinians, former President Trump was completely on the side of Israel.
Embassy of the United States of America
For example, in his “ peace plan, ” Trump has defined the final status of all conflict sensitive issues in advance: how the borders should be managed, what should be done with Palestinian refugees, and what is the status of Jerusalem – all of this is in Israel’s interest. He did bring the American embassy to Jerusalem, shut down the Palestine Liberation Organization office in Washington and canceled all financial aid. Trump wrote on Twitter, explaining his decision: “We pay the Palestinians hundreds of millions annually, but in return we do not receive gratitude or respect.”
When he took office in January, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said he wanted to get out of that line, and aid will now resume because it “serves important US values and interests.” (Although it should be noted that it is much less than the $ 355 million the United States contributed to UNRWA in 2016).
The Biden administration is also working to reopen the diplomatic mission of the Palestinians in Washington and is committed to negotiations leading to a two-state solution. Plus, the White House still looked at the cat outside the tree. It remains unclear which government will lead Israel now that the elections have not yielded a clear majority for Prime Minister Netanyahu. It remains to be seen what the Palestinian elections will achieve later this year.
Biden’s “anti-Semitic” decision
While the Palestinians welcome the decision to return the money to UNRWA, Israel has sharply criticized it. “We believe that this UN body for the so-called refugees should not exist at all,” said Gilad Erdan, Israel’s ambassador to the United States and the United Nations. According to him, UNRWA’s activities are “anti-Israel and anti-Semitic.”
The United Nations was established a year after the founding of the State of Israel to provide assistance to 700,000 Palestinians who were expelled or fled. At the time, it was decided that the descendants of these people are also entitled to help, and there are currently more than 5 million. They live in Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, the Israeli-occupied West Bank (including East Jerusalem), and the Gaza Strip. In this coastal enclave, UNRWA provides food and water to one million people, half of the population. In addition, the organization provides educational and medical assistance.
There is a lot of criticism of UNRWA – not just Israel. In 2019, the head of the UN agency resigned after a report on violations was leaked. And countries such as Switzerland and the Netherlands are also temporarily halting their donations.
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