Joe Biden is hardly the president of the United States, but he’s already busy reversing much of the foreign policy of his predecessor Donald Trump. On Tuesday, it was the Palestinians’ turn.
In a speech at the United Nations, Acting US Ambassador Richard Mills said the United States wants to restore diplomatic relations with the Palestinian Authority and resume financial support for UNRWA – the UN agency that supports Palestinian refugees.
This looks like A first step to reviving the relationship between the United States and the Palestinians, but also to bring Israel and the Palestinians back to the negotiating table. Mills stressed that “the United States will support the two-state solution that is mutually agreed: a solution in which Israel lives in peace and security alongside a viable Palestinian state.”
The Palestinians are cautiously optimistic about the new Washington rhetoric. Ahmed Majdalani, Minister of Social Affairs in the Palestinian Authority, said, “The Biden government has officially announced its position on the peace process and the two-state solution.” New York times. “We believe that this is an important and positive step towards restoring mutual relations between the Americans and the Palestinians,” he added.
Trump closed the tap for the money
During his presidency, Donald Trump tried in various ways to pressure the Palestinians to cooperate with the “peace plan” drawn up by Jared Kushner – Trump’s son-in-law. For example, in 2018, Trump closed the Palestinian mission office in Washington and the US consulate in East Jerusalem. However, diplomatic relations between the two countries have been practically suspended.
Additionally, Trump has also shut down the money tap. The annual US contribution of $ 350 million (about $ 290 million) to UNRWA has been canceled. The United States was the relief agency’s largest donor at the time, and Trump’s sudden decision squeezed resource supplies for more than five million Palestinian refugees in Gaza, the West Bank, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria. Also, € 165 million, which was earmarked for projects in Gaza and the West Bank, was canceled.
Biden remains loyal
But despite this policy shift, Biden will not reflect all of Trump’s options. For example, Anthony Blinken – the US Secretary of State – assured that his government would continue to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, an option that Trump was widely criticized at the time. Biden is expected to be more critical of Israel than Trump, but the United States will remain a staunch ally for now.
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