US reinstates hundreds of millions in funding to Palestinians, reversing Trump decision

SectorFinancial Markets
CountryMiddle east

Over $200 million will soon begin to flow to economic, development and humanitarian programs for the Palestinian people, Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced Wednesday -- a move hailed by both the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which supports displaced Palestinians, and Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh. The money will go to UNRWA as well as to Covid-19 recovery efforts, support for basic needs such as food and water, support for civil society and the East Jerusalem Hospital Network, Blinken said. "The United States is committed to advancing prosperity, security, and freedom for both Israelis and Palestinians in tangible ways in the immediate term, which is important in its own right, but also as a means to advance towards a negotiated two-state solution," Blinken said in a statement. This announcement reverses the Trump administration's 2018 decision to halt almost all US assistance to Palestinians.

Israel's Foreign Ministry responded carefully on Wednesday, refraining from outright criticism of the Biden administration and instead aiming its fire at UNRWA: "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 should be accompanied by substantial and more...