The US government is again allocating funds to the United Nations to assist Palestinian refugees, UNRWA. It was established in 1949 for the Palestinians who fled their homes, villages and cities in previous years due to the Arab-Israeli conflict. Nearly 6 million Palestinians depend on aid.
“The United States is pleased to announce that we can resume economic, humanitarian and development assistance to the Palestinians,” Blinken said. The US government allocates nearly 200 million euros to it. 126 million euros go to UNRWA, 63 million euros for economic and development aid and 8.5 million euros for peace-strengthening projects.
The decision is not unexpected. Biden had already said during his campaign that he would cancel a number of decisions made by his predecessor Trump.
Line through the help
President Trump cut nearly all aid to the Palestinians in 2018. This was interpreted as an attempt to force the Palestinian leadership to come to the negotiating table. Palestinians were angry that Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and moved the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Therefore, the Palestinians refused to cooperate in Trump’s efforts to resolve the conflict with Israel.
Trump later withdrew his financial contribution to UNRWA. At the time, this amounted to nearly 310 million euros per year.
The Palestinian Authority, which has some form of self-government in parts of the West Bank, welcomes the Biden government’s decision and speaks of “very important support” that we hope will continue.
The United Nations also welcomes the decision. He added, “A number of countries have significantly reduced their contributions to UNRWA. We hope that the American decision will encourage other countries to participate again.”
The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs is less enthusiastic. An UNRWA spokesperson said UNRWA was perpetuating the conflict rather than cooperating with a solution.