Biden State Department Reverses Trump Era Halt On Palestinian Aid

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Topline

Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Wednesday announced the U.S. will restart Palestinian aid that was halted under former President Donald Trump, arguing the move will benefit the Middle East peace process and repair U.S. global standing.

Key Facts

In a statement, Blinken said the U.S. will provide $75 million in economic development assistance to the West Bank and Gaza, $10 million for “peacebuilding programs” and $150 million for humanitarian assistance through the U.N. Relief and Works Agency.

Additionally, Blinken said, the U.S. will be “resuming vital security assistance programs,” which goes to Palestinian security forces aimed at stemming violence by militant groups Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

Blinken argued in his statement that, in addition to providing “critical relief to those in great need,” the assistance “supports Israeli-Palestinian understanding, security coordination and stability” and “aligns with the values and interests of our allies and partners.”

Key Background

Trump cut U.S. aid to Palestinians in 2018 before halting it altogether a year later after the Anti-Terrorism Classification Act, which allows Americans to sue U.S. foreign aid recipients in U.S. courts, went into effect. Blinken said Wednesday the aid will be “provided consistent with U.S. law.”

Big Number

$15 million. That’s how much humanitarian aid to Palestinians – targeted at Covid-19 and food insecurity – Biden announced in March.

Chief Critic

“It is unconscionable that President Biden would send American tax dollars to corrupt Palestinian leaders who openly support terrorism and wage war against our great ally Israel,” Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) said in a statement earlier this month in response to an Associated Press report that Biden had already “quietly” allocated nearly $100 million in aid, urging Biden to “immediately reverse this decision.”

Crucial Quote

“This is the humane thing to do and it is in our interest to be humane,” tweeted Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii).