United States President Joe Biden’s administration announced on April 7 that it plans to restore aid to Palestinians by providing a $235 million package and resuming support for a United Nations (UN) agency for refugees.
In a statement, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that the package includes $75 million in economic and development assistance in the West Bank and Gaza, $10 million for peace building programs through the U.S. Agency for International Development, and $150 million in humanitarian assistance for the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).
The aid is in addition to the $15 million in humanitarian assistance that the U.S. announced last March to address the COVID-19 pandemic and food insecurity, Blinken stated.
Blinken also said that the U.S. will resume security assistance programs and support for UNRWA’s services, which includes education for over 500,000 Palestinian boys and girls in Lebanon, Jordan, Syria and the West Bank, and Gaza Strip.
“The United States is deeply committed to ensuring that our partnership with UNRWA promotes neutrality, accountability, and transparency,” Blinken stated.
UNRWA called the U.S. “a decades-long friend and supporter.”
“UNRWA could not be more pleased that once again we will partner with the United States to provide critical assistance to some of the most vulnerable refugees across the Middle East and fulfill our mandate to educate and provide primary healthcare to millions of refugees every day,” UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini said in a statement.
UNRWA has faced a severe financial crisis since former U.S. President Donald Trump cut off assistance in 2018. Palestinian leaders then accused him of being heavily biased of Israel.