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Washington resumes aid disbursements to Palestinians

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The United States announced, Wednesday, the resumption of its aid to the Palestinians, against the advice of Israel. This aid to the UN agency which deals with Palestinian refugees will reach 235 million dollars (198 million euros).

In detail, the United States will again contribute to the financing of this agency to the tune of 150 million dollars (126.4 million euros). They will also contribute $ 75 million (€ 63 million) for the development and economy of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and $ 10 million (€ 8.4 million) for the peace process. .

Read also: UNRWA, a necessary and concrete aid to the Palestinians

“American aid to the Palestinian people serves the interests and values ​​of the United States. It provides crucial aid to those who need it, promotes economic development and supports the Israeli-Palestinian dialogue, the coordination of security and stability, ”explained Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

A first step for the Palestinian Authority

The Israeli ambassador to the United States, Gilad Erdan, in the process expressed his “disappointment” and his “disagreement”. The United States should have “first of all made sure that certain reforms are carried out, aimed in particular at putting an end to incitement (to anti-Semitism) and to removing anti-Semitic content from school curricula,” he said. he adds.

On the Palestinian side, the Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority, Mohammed Shtayyeh, said that this resumption of aid should only be a first step. “We look forward not only to the resumption of financial aid but also to the return of political relations with the United States, in a way which enables our Palestinian people to fulfill their legitimate rights to create an independent state with Jerusalem as its capital. ”Mohammed Shtayyeh said. The Palestinian prime minister also called on Washington to “put pressure on Israel to curb the desire for expansion and colonization in the occupied territories”.

The German Minister of Foreign Affairs Heiko Maas, for his part, considered that the American announcement sent “a good signal” at an “auspicious time”.

A shortfall for Unrwa

The new funding pledged by Washington comes on top of the $ 15 million (€ 12.6 million) already announced by the United States to help Palestinians facing the Covid-19 pandemic, while Israel, the world leader in terms of vaccination, is accused of not having made the occupied territories benefit from these advances. Israel claims that the vaccination campaign in the Palestinian Territories is the responsibility of the Palestinian Authority.

On the subject: Two-speed vaccine distribution in Israel

The UN Agency for Palestinian Refugees (Unrwa), of which the United States was once the largest donor, has faced a shortfall since Donald Trump withdrew his funds in 2018, arguing that refugees, including some have lived in camps for generations, should be resettled.

The agency said its needs have increased due to Covid-19 and the hardships faced by Palestinians living in Syria, Lebanon or Jordan. Unrwa says it entered 2021 with a liability of $ 75 million (€ 63.2 million) resulting from fiscal year 2020, and it is expected to reach over $ 200 million (168 million euros) for the current year.

Pending a new peace initiative

On another key issue in the Israeli-Palestinian issue, President Joe Biden on Wednesday reiterated his support for a two-state solution, questioned by Donald Trump, who during his mandate offered many pledges of satisfaction to the state Hebrew.

Joe Biden reaffirmed this position in a telephone interview with King Abdullah II of Jordan, during which he also expressed strong American support for Jordan, according to a White House statement.

Read the opinion: Israel-Palestine: while waiting for Joe Biden

The Biden administration has reestablished its relations with the Palestinians and given them its support, without however revealing any new peace initiative to resolve this historic conflict. Shortly after the inauguration of the Democratic president in January, the United States declared that it would reopen the offices of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in Washington, closed under the presidency of Donald Trump. The PLO is the entity recognized internationally as representing Palestinians in the Territories and in the Diaspora.

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