Egypt and Jordan praised the United States for resuming financial and humanitarian aid to Palestinians, including support for the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA).
Antony Blinken, US Secretary of State announced that the US would resume $235 million in aid to Palestinians. “US aid to the Palestinian people serves the interests and values of the United States. It provides vital assistance to those who need it and facilitates economic development. The aid supports the Israeli-Palestinian dialogue and coordination of security and stability,” he said.
“This includes $75 million in economic and development assistance in the West Bank and Gaza, $10 million for peacebuilding programs through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and $150 million in humanitarian assistance for the UNRWA,” he added.
It was the clearest indication of Biden’s obvious desire to rebuild trust with Palestinians, who boycotted Trump’s White House for the majority of his presidency, accusing him of pro-Israel bias.
US move was supported by many countries in region. The Egyptian Foreign Ministry welcomed the announcement, praising the US administration’s commitment to and engagement with regional issues. He stated that, it would help to decrease Palestinian misery, pave the way for more financial assistance to the Palestinian people in the face of unexpected economic and humanitarian challenges, and enable UNRWA to meet the Palestinian people’s basic needs.
Jordan also announced that the additional funding will help UNRWA resolve its financial crisis. In a statement Jordan said that it views the decision as an important and meaningful move forward in UNRWA’s capacity to meet Palestinian refugees’ educational, health, and humanitarian needs.
Besides these foreign countries, some of the Palestinian politicians also backed US new decision too. Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said, “I welcome the resumption of US funding to the UNRWA, estimated at $150m a year.”
Palestinian people applauded the decision, calling it a “positive step“. Ahmed Majdalani, a member of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s (PLO) Executive Committee, said the US declaration is a promising development that can be built upon to restore Washington’s ties with the Palestinian leadership.
Palestinian refugees also celebrated the United States’ declaration that it would renew humanitarian relief, signaling a departure from the Trump period.
Ahmed Odeh in Bethlehem’s Deheisheh refugee camp in the Israeli-occupied West Bank said “We are happy. The former American administration tried to stop these funds to the Palestinian people.”
“Any funding for the refugee camps and the refugees is out of good will and is good for us … people are not working or making money, especially during the pandemic,” said Subhi Allian, 71, outside an UNRWA clinic in Far’a refugee camp near Tubas.
Meanwhile, the decision had some oppositions too. Gilad Erdan, Israel’s ambassador to Washington, announced his “disappointment and objection” with the United States’ resumption of assistance to the Palestinians.
The Israeli Foreign Ministry said, “The resumption of US funding to UNRWA must be made as part of changes in the agency.”
Former US President Donald Trump halted assistance to Palestine as part of a broader effort to persuade Palestinians to participate in talks on his new proposal to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian peace plan. However, Palestinians vehemently opposed the plan, citing the many compromises it made to Israel as justification.